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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- On Dec. 1, RJ Reynolds andPhilip Morris USA announced price increases on all their brands, with the cost to buy their cigarettes rising 80 cents per carton across the board. Both pricing moves come a day after Lorillard’s 60 cents per carton increase on Newport, Kent and True went into effect.
The week started with Lorillard’s Nov. 29 announcement that its premium brands, excluding non-menthol, would increase 60 cents per carton, 6 cents per pack, effective Nov. 30. The company did not touch the price of the non-menthol brands because they were just brought to the marketplace a month ago, Bob Dannon, director of investor relations, told CSNews Online.
"We recently introduced Newport non-menthol with a special introductory price promotion," explained Dannon. As of now, Lorillard has not set an end date for the pricing promotion. "Ultimately, the Newport non-menthol brands will be targeted as premium brands so they will be priced accordingly," he added.
The latest pricing change follows two others the company implemented this year. The first came in February when Newport rose 45 cents per carton, Dannon said, and the second came in May when another 45 cents per carton increase went into effect. "It is something we are always looking at," he added.
RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris USA similarly cited business reasons for making their price adjustments. All RJ Reynolds brands, including Camel and Winston, will tick up 80 cents per carton, or 8 cents per pack, a company spokesperson told CSNews Online. "Our pricing generally reflects our cost of doing business."
Smokers of Philip Morris USA brand cigarettes, which include Marlboro, Parliament and Basic, will also see an 80 cent per carton increase, or 8 cents per pack. The change, which will be effective with shipments on Dec. 6, comes seven months after the company instituted another 80 cents per carton increase, a company spokesperson explained to CSNews Online.
"The company periodically evaluates the pricing strategies and looks at marketplace dynamics," the spokesperson explained.