Diversified conglomerate ITC is looking to enhance its position in the Indian premium cigarettes market, with plans to launch the iconic global brand ‘Lucky Strike’ this week.
According to industry sources, Lucky Strike, the original American brand that was launched way back in 1871, will make its formal India debut this week.
“The brand will be initially launched in the Delhi, Mumbai and Pune markets and will be available in select cigarette-selling retail outlets, premium hotels, restaurants and clubs,” a source said.
Popularly known as the ‘Luckies’, it will be competing with Marlboro, from the stable of Philip Morris, which is sold in India by Godfrey Philips India Ltd.
ITC officials were not available for comment.
With the launch of Lucky Strike, ITC will be enhancing its presence in the premium segment, in which it already sells brands like Insignia and Benson & Hedges.
Sources said a pack of 20 cigarettes of Lucky Strike will be priced at Rs 110 and will take on Marlboro, which costs Rs 98 for a 20-cigarette pack.
“Lucky Strike cigarettes will be launched in India in two variants — ‘Gold’ and ‘Red’,” the source said.
Lucky Strike is a leading international brand and is available in 47 countries. In India, ITC will own the trademark and will be the exclusive manufacturer and marketer.
ITC’s other cigarette brands include India Kings, Classic, Gold Flake, Silk Cut, Navy Cut, Scissors, Capstan, Berkeley, Bristol and Flake.
The diversified group had registered sales of Rs 9,321 crore from its cigarettes business in the fiscal ended March 31, 2010. As per industry estimates, ITC commands around 80 per cent of the organised cigarettes market in India.