PM USA Promotes Marlboro Snus

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PM USA Promotes Marlboro Snus

By Mehgan Belanger

RICHMOND, Va. -- In a move to learn more from its test of Marlboro Snus, Philip Morris USA (PM USA) launched price promotions last month for its snus products in the two test markets -- Dallas/Ft. Worth and Indianapolis -- of $2.50 and $1.50, respectively.

The promotional allowance is "in line with other promotions" for the company's other brands, Greg Mathe, spokesman for Altria, PM USA's parent company, told CSNews Online, explaining that the promotion is an attractive offer for adult smokers interested in snus, and it was done to encourage adult smokers to test the product.

The promotional allowance in both markets began on April 28, and will run until June 29, Mathe confirmed.

One category manager selling the product, Bob Richardson of Texarkana, Texas-based E-Z Mart, told CSNews Online the promotional allowance cut the price of the product in his 45 stores testing it from $4.29 to $1.79. For the most recent sales period that included the promotional allowance, E-Z Mart sold an average 5.4 packs per store per week -- a "pretty good jump" of nearly two packs per store per week, which Richardson attributed to the allowance.

He added the move is an indication of PM USA's concern over the product's performance so far, which Richardson explained has significantly slowed since Marlboro Snus was first introduced in his stores in August 2007.

However, PM USA's Mathe said the company is "pleased with the initial acceptance [of Marlboro Snus] in the test markets. The price promotion communicates with and engages adult smokers."

As far as future strategies, Mathe said the company will "see how the rest of the year unfolds."