Major supermarket chains won’t follow Lidl’s lead and stop selling tobacco products

“We do not want to judge the behaviour of adults,” reasons Coop, which along with the Salling Group is proud of its efforts to hide all cigarettes from public view

Smokers can breathe easy – or at least as ably as their 10 or 20-a-day habit permits.

Both of Denmark’s major supermarket chain owners, Salling Group and Coop, have announced this morning that they have no plans to follow the lead of competitor Lidl and withdraw tobacco products from their shelves.

The German supermarket chain confirmed yesterday that from 2029 it will no longer be selling cigarettes or other smoking or smoke-free products at any of its 139 stores in Denmark – in line with Kræftens Bekæmpelse’s vision of a smoke-free generation growing up in Denmark.

Phasing out has already begun
Starting from this summer, Lidl will reduce the capacity for tobacco products by 20 percent – while a new Lidl store opening in Hjørring in north Jutland on Thursday will be tobacco-free.

“It must be done in the right way, and that is why we have chosen to phase it out over a period of five years,” explained Lidl spokesperson Khalil Jehya Taleb, according to DR.

Lidl expects to see turnover fall as a result of the plans to phase out tobacco sales over the next five and a half years.

Not considering at this time
While also committed to the smoke-free generation vision, Coop worries that a complete phasing out might alienate the smokers among its customers.

“We do not want to judge the behaviour of adults. Instead, we focus on creating a generation of young people who don’t smoke, which is why we have hidden the tobacco in our stores and require ID from customers,” Jens Juul Nielsen, the director of information at Coop, told DR.

 Salling Group also notes that its efforts to hide tobacco products from view are working.

“Removing a completely legal product from the shelves, which is still used by many customers, is not something we are considering at this time,” said Jacob Nielsen, the head of press at Salling Group.