John McClurey is an independant retailer, for more than 30 years, in the North of England, and LibDem Councillor for Gateshead since 2008, who frequently appears in ASH's media statements purporting to represent all retailers.
Top of his list of complaints is, apparently, that selling tobacco fails to generate sufficient/any profit, so he'd like to stop selling it, and free up all the money that's tied up in tobacco stock on... we're not sure.
And for some obscure reason, he has yet to simply... stop selling it.
On being "forced" by evil Big Tobacco to do stuff:
I'm not sure business works like that. They may provide incentives like cheaper product, gifts or competition entries, but no-one's forcing you to do it.
The first reference found for John is when he's being a tad disingenuous about the cost of 'shutters' to hide cigarettes behind:
Proper retailers on the other hand had more realistic quotes:
Probably taken, as Dick Puddlecote observed, from this:
As of 2017, http://www.shelving4shops.co.uk/cigarette-gantry-1.html has one listed at £583.33 (£700 after tax.) https://www.shopfittingsuppliesonline.com/cigarette-gantry-unit-with-sliding-doors.html has one for £440 (£528).
Displays won't affect sales because:
Off to Guernsey next and...
More myths are peddled in The Guardian:
Strange how, before Standardised packaging come in he claims loss of sales won't harm small shops, yet 6 years later (see below) he claims they're actually a burden he could well do without.
It appears that smokers are the only people John seems to have a dislike for:
says our John, before presenting a highly unbalanced view.
For example the 'packaging makes tobacco irresistible to kids' line is repeated ad nauseam...
Of course, if only it was illegal for the likes of John to sell them to kids, that might stop them smoking as well. Just sayin'.
And the slippery slope argument rears its head
It wasn't just the tobacco companies John.
But what's this? 50 newsagents descending on Westminster to complain the exact opposite will happen?
And here's the Association of Convenience Stores take:
A passing mention in another article about illegal tobacco, but he's asked about standardised packaging...
That 'balanced view' didn't last too long.
ASH produce a report Counter Arguments - How important is tobacco to small retailers where John unequivocally states in the foreword:
Actually John has every choice to not sell tobacco. It's just that he makes a profit from doing so, and so he's lying when he states
The report goes onto blandly state:
But those numbers include the 'cost' of the tax on the products. If a £8 packet of cigarettes generates 48p of profit (using the 6% cited) and you work out how much the packet would cost if it only had 20% VAT on it instead of the 233% it actually did in 2012, then it would cost £2.84. Now that 48p works out as 17% profit. If you treated it as zero-rated (as some of the things in his shop probably are) then it works out as 48p/£2.37=20%.
Or you could use realistic figures instead of cherry picking:
During the 10-year celebrations of the English tobacco ban, John pops up again...
On the topic of profit margins:
.. which sorta ignores the fact that while most of the stock in his shop is taxed at either 20% VAT or 0% (presuming he sells zero-rated food) the tax on tobacco can be anywhere from 233% (for an £8 pack) to a massive 900% (for a £5.50 pack. Both 2012 rates)
- J & S Mcclurey Limited - Company Data Rex
- J & S MCCLUREY LIMITED Credit Report - Company Check
- How ten years of tobacco control success has helped me - ASH on Twitter
- How to Spot Another ASH Stooge - Nannying Tyrants
- Gateshead councillor apologises for Facebook comments - ChronicalLive
- Shopkeepers hoodwinked by tobacco manufacturers - ASH
- Everything Changes But ASH - Dick Puddlecote
- The Dark Market Redux - Velvet Glove, Iron Fist
- Do Lies (Upon Lies) Get Bigger Than This? - Dick Puddlecote
- John in APPG Bulletin
- Lords’ cigs vote sparks a worry for newsagents - EveningStandard
- Anti-smoking group dismisses claims cigarette display ban would increase tobacco smuggling - The Huddersfield Daily Examiner]]
- Tobacco ban does not mean death of retail - Guernsey Press
- Education letters - The Guardian
- Comment: A newsagent who'll be fine with plain packs - politics.co.uk
- Plain cigarette packaging triggers East Lancashire newsagents’ trip to Westminster - The (York) Press
- Plain cigarette packaging will hurt convenience stores, claims ACS - Retail Gazette
- North Tyneside MP calls for end of bootleg tobacco sales] - ChronicleLive
- Cash in: Tobacco - Sticking around - Convenience Store
- Cost of Smokers - Tax calculations for a packet of cigarettes