The parent company of heated tobacco retailer IQOS has reportedly closed down almost all 16 of its stores across the UK.
It comes two years after Philip Morris International, the same company that owns Marlboro, revealed ambitions expansion plans for the high street chain.
The plans, which were set out before the Covid-19 pandemic, featured opening hundreds of IQOS shops across the country to help drive sales of combustible cigarette alternatives as part of its visions for a “smoke free” future.
IQOS first launched in 2016 and mainly has stores across London, Manchester and Bristol.
The retailer generated net revenues of $6.8 billion last year, which made up almost one quarter of Philip Morris’ overall revenues.
According to The Times though, there are signs IQOS is struggling to gain traction in the UK and a source speaking to the newspaper said 60 agency retail staff were made redundant as a result of the store closures.
A Philip Morris spokesperson told The Times that IQOS was “growing rapidly and is the number one smoke-free product in the UK”.
Customers can still purchase IQOS products online or through other high street stockists like convenience or grocery stores.