20160711_010000_JC

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JD Cigarettes are sold at Penny Saver Food and Gas, 2715 S Elm-Eugen Street, Greensboro, NC on Monday, July 11, 2016. (Justin Cook for The Wall Street Journal)<br />
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TOBACCO<br />
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Story Summary: Japan Tobacco Inc. is quietly invading U.S. tobacco country with a new discount cigarette brand. At Penny Saver Food and Gas near downtown Greensboro, N.C., the company’s LD cigarettes have prime placement, around eye level in the middle of the section, allowing them to stand out alongside established brands like Marlboro, Newport and Camel. Its $2.81 price tag compares favorably with Marlboro at $5.25 and puts it in position to challenge discount brands L&M at $3.69 and Pall Mall at $3.73. The red, blue, green and silver packs of cigarettes with the LD logo stamped on the right corner are part of a plan to give the world’s second-largest tobacco company a toehold in the lucrative U.S. market. Almost all of Japan Tobacco’s roughly $21 billion in sales comes from outside the U.S. LD is the first global brand the company introduced in the U.S. in March. The company said it is testing the discount cigarette’s appeal in North Carolina and South Carolina and will launch the brand nationwide depending on its performance as early as next year with 10 style variations. Japan Tobacco’s investment in LD is part of an about face for Big Tobacco. After years of spurning the U.S. because of mounting civil suits, international tobacco companies are returning as the country becomes more attractive than international markets. Legal risks here are fading and prices are rising. Plus, thanks to the First Amendment, companies here are protected from having to use plain packaging or apply graphic warning labels that show images of gangrene feet, rules currently gaining momentum worldwide. The Tokyo-based company has increased its staff in the U.S. by 20% over the past five years to 147 employees and invested heavily in the U.S. e-cigarette company Logic, which it acquired in 2015.
JD Cigarettes are sold at Penny Saver Food and Gas, 2715 S Elm-Eugen Street, Greensboro, NC on Monday, July 11, 2016. (Justin Cook for The Wall Street Journal)

TOBACCO

Story Summary: Japan Tobacco Inc. is quietly invading U.S. tobacco country with a new discount cigarette brand. At Penny Saver Food and Gas near downtown Greensboro, N.C., the company’s LD cigarettes have prime placement, around eye level in the middle of the section, allowing them to stand out...
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