Cigaret sales make up as much as 30 percent of the daily variety store revenues, and that reducing consumption through higher excise taxes could drive many small stores out of business, according to a retailers’ group.
In a statement, the Kapisanan ng mga Sari-sari Stores sa Pilipinas Inc. from various provinces cited the irony that a number of smokers have stopped buying from their stores after the two cigar excise tax increases in 2018, “but simply got their supply from shady stores selling cheap, counterfeit cigarettes.”
“Smokers have not stopped smoking. They have stopped buying from us. They are buying from other stores selling illegal products,” Kasapi president Francis Manuel said.
In a Senate ways and means committee hearing in January, Kasapi pleaded with the senators to hold off any plan to hike the excise tax in cigars and alcohol products to protect their main source of livelihood.
Manuel said cigarettes provide 30 percent of their daily sales, adding new tax increases could only reduce their sales.
According to the Nielsen Retail Index, there are over one-million variety stores nationwide that provide livelihood to families and convenience to consumers.