Lorillard Finds No Reason to be Blue About Blu

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Lorillard Finds No Reason to be Blue About Blu

By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News - 07/25/2013

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- More than one year after Lorillard Inc. acquired blu eCigs, the electronic cigarette brand continues to perform well and the company is not letting up on its investment.

Speaking during today's second-quarter earnings call, Lorillard Chairman, President and CEO Murray Kessler reported that blu eCigs achieved net sales of $57 million and captured a more than 40-percent market share during the quarter. Net sales for the e-cigarette brand for the first six months of the year hit $114 million. These numbers are compared to $8 million for both the second quarter and first half of 2012.

The $57 million in net sales was essentially flat with first-quarter numbers. However, Kessler explained that Lorillard stopped shipment of blu's original rechargeable kit in early June in order to deplete the wholesale and retail inventory in advance of its new on-the-go rechargeable pack. The new pack began shipping in late June, he added.

Still, Kessler cautioned against putting too much emphasis on blu's profits. "Profits are not our short-term goal; being first and being best are," he said.

Lorillard continues to move toward those goals. The blu electronic cigarette expanded to another 30,000 retail outlets, bringing the total number to approximately 100,000. In addition, the company recently signed a distribution agreement to bring blu to retail stores in Canada starting in the third quarter, according to Kessler.

The Greensboro, N.C.-based tobacco company is also investing in blu's brand-building through its national advertising campaign. Lorillard re-signed actor Stephen Dorff, who starred in blu's first national commercial "Rise from the Ashes," which made its debut in October.

Lorillard announced today that it signed a second celebrity to help blu's marketing push. The company is now teaming with actress and new "The View" co-host Jenny McCarthy -- who, according to Kessler, approached Lorillard about working together because she uses blu e-cigarettes.

In addition to blu eCigs, Lorillard is also known for its Newport and Maverick cigarette brands.