Shipments of Philip Morris USA’s flagship Marlboro cigarette plummeted six per cent in the third quarter, costing America’s leading brand a half percentage point in market share, parent company Altria said.
Marlboro’s market share decline to 43.2 per cent was driven by higher cigarette excise taxes in California and “increased competitive activity,” Altria said. Total shipment volume fell 6.2 per cent to 30.8 billion sticks, of which Marlboro accounted for 26.5 billion sticks. Adjusted for calendar differences and trade inventory movements, the decline was 4.5 per cent, Altria said. Volume in the US cigarette industry declined an estimated 3.5 per cent in the three months to 30 September.
Lower shipment volume resulted in a 2.8 per cent decline in smokeable division revenue, however higher pricing coupled with lower costs boosted operating company income 9.8 per cent to USD 2.3 billion (EUR 2 billion), Altria said.
Smokeless products revenue and profit were up despite a sharp decline in Skoal shipments, one of two major moist-snuff brands at Altria’s US Smokeless Tobacco Company subsidiary. Skoal volume fell 6.9 per cent, however coupled with an increase in Copenhagen shipments, the two brands declined 2 per cent to 195.7 million units. At the e-vapor Nu Mark unit, shipments of MarkTen increased 50 per cent, Altria said.