Imperial’s measure of success

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Price rises, the popularity of value brands and revamped packaging helped the world’s fourth largest tobacco group report higher revenues yesterday.

Imperial Tobacco, which owns the Lambert & Butler, JPS and Windsor Blue brands, saw UK stick equivalent sales fall to 25.3 billion from 25.6 billion in the year to September 30.

But UK revenues and adjusted operating profits were both 8 per cent higher at £936m and £627m respectively as it increased pack prices by 25p over the summer.

Meanwhile, its value brands JPS Silver and Windsor Blue pulled in cash-strapped consumers and helped the Bristol-based firm hold its UK market share at 45 per cent.

The wider group, which saw stick equivalent sales worldwide dip to 336 billion from 346 billion, reported a 3 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £2.6bn.

Imperial Tobacco boss Alison Cooper said: “Our portfolio offers consumers unrivalled choice and provides significant opportunities for further growth.”