BAT to ramp up investment in e-cigarettes after missing target

British American Tobacco plans to significantly increase investment in its ecigarette products in an attempt to catch up with rivals and offset a decline in sales at core brands such as Lucky Strike and Dunhill. The FTSE 100 tobacco group said revenue growth for new products, which include its Vuse and Vype vaping products, increased 27 per cent to £531m in the first half on a constant currency basis. That fell short of a 30 to 50 per cent annual revenue growth target for “reduced risk” products. BAT hit consensus revenue forecast with turnover up 4.1 per cent to £12bn for the six months to June at constant currency rates. Profits before tax fell 2.6 per cent to £3.8bn due to payments towards a historic class action lawsuit in the US. The results, the first for new chief executive Jack Bowles, follow a disappointing trading update earlier in the year in which the company said it had lost market share for the first time in years. Shares in BAT rose 7 per cent on Thursday after it said it expected the growth rate for new products to accelerate over the next six months. The company said it had “significant” additional investment planned for its new product portfolio and expected st...

Juul Labs Inc., the controversial e-cigarette maker, is exploring plans to open its own U.S. retail

Juul Labs Inc., the controversial e-cigarette maker, is exploring plans to open its own U.S. retail shops, looking to capitalize on its early dominance of the American market, according to people familiar with the matter. The company hasn’t made a final decision on whether to open its own U.S. stores, which would admit only adults, but has already hired some staff for potential locations in Dallas and Houston, according to one of the people. The Food and Drug Administration, which says sweet and fruity e-cigarette flavors are appealing to teens, has proposed retail restrictions that would essentially prohibit convenience stores and gas stations from selling e-cigarette flavors other than tobacco, mint and menthol. Juul plans to sell only tobacco, mint and menthol flavors in any U.S. stores it opens, the person said. Juul, which also sells its vaping devices online, now commands about 75% of the U.S. retail market tracked by Nielsen, according to Wells Fargo. It is sold in more than 100,000 stores nationwide, including 7-Eleven, Circle K and many gas stations. Running its own storefronts would allow Juul to gain sales insights that could be applied at other retailers and to test...