The US market leader in the vape channel, Juul Labs, has entered the UK wholesale sector, following the announcement of a partnership with Bestway that aims to widen the distribution of its products into the independent convenience channel.
Initially, the deal will see the company’s core range of starter kit and five flavours (Golden Tobacco, Glacier Mint, Mango Nectar, Royal Creme and Apple Orchard) stocked in 10 selected Bestway and Batleys tobacco rooms from 24th May.
Bestway customers who purchase Juul products will be required to agree to operate Challenge 25, Juul’s mandatory age-verification requirement, in order to ensure prevention of access to the category by anyone under the legal purchasing age for vaping products.
The selected Bestway depots are Abbey Road, Hackney, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Brighton, Team Valley & Exeter and Batleys Leeds & Southampton locations.
“We are delighted to have partnered with Bestway Wholesale to make Juul products available to thousands of independent retailers through its Bestway and Batleys depots,” said John Patterson, Sales Director of Juul Labs UK.
He continued: “Independent retail is a key strategic focus for Juul as we aim to make our products available in stores that are traditionally used by smokers to purchase their tobacco products. Independents and symbol retailers account for 45% of tobacco purchases but less than 10% of overall vape sales, so the opportunity for the channel is huge and we estimate it could be worth an incremental £750m a year by 2020 if convenience gets its fair share.”
Dawood Pervez, managing director of Bestway Wholesale, added: “Our mission is to be the best way to grow our customers’ food and drink businesses. A key part of this is ensuring we are first to market with NPD and helping our customers keep ahead of trends in the marketplace, becoming a partner to customers and providing them with a point of difference over their competitors.”