CONVENIENCE stores are fuming because their staff can no longer tell their Benson & Hedges from their Peter Stuyvesants.

A new survey on the impact of plain cigarette packaging on small retailers found three quarters believed the mandatory olive green packaging had had a negative impact on their businesses.

The Roy Morgan survey of 450 retailers, prepared for tobacco company Philip Morris, found 90 per cent had experienced an increase in the time taken to serve adult smokers.

plain-packagingAbout 60 per cent of respondents reported staff were now more likely to give the wrong cigarette product to customers, while a large majority of respondents said it now took longer to order stock.

Australasian Association of Convenience Stores chief executive Jeff Rogut said the government had failed to properly consult with businesses to smooth the introduction of plain packaging on December 1 last year.

 “It was quite clear from our point of view that the timeline for introduction of the regulations would negatively impact retailers, so it was disappointing not to have been granted an opportunity to consult with government ahead of the introduction of the legislation,” Mr Rogut said.

He said the sector would have been able to help minimise the negative impact on retailers had it been asked by the government.

“It is disappointing that these legitimate concerns were unable to be voiced,” Mr Rogut said.

“As such, no support or subsidies for the cost burdens were considered. The rushed timeline for the introduction of the legislation was, from a retail trade perspective, unfortunately not realistic.”