What would you say to some entity which has been faithfully serving to you for 86 years?

Since 1924 grandfather YIPTONG gave up his activity of manufacturer of cigarettes to join in to be a distributor of British American Tobacco ( BAT). All through the years up to the present the family business is still the distributor of BAT cigarettes.

At the early start, YIPTONG distributorship was more about being a wholesales depot in the main city of Port Louis where retailers came to obtain their suppliers. Later in the early sixties with the transformation of retailing in Mauritius, BAT selected a restricted number of distributors who were assigned geographical regions to promote market and supervise the sales of their products.

Unlike many other products, cigarettes are sensitive products and cannot be handled like most other commodities. The distributors had to ensure that the storing of the stocks at the point of sales where optimum to guarantee of their conservation to freshness and contamination from damp and strong smells. The shell life of the locally produced cigarettes was limited to weeks. The role of the distributor was to ensure that stale products were tendered to the consumers and that a proper stock rotation was maintained. Systems were put in place to control the stock of each retailer and to run a just in time rotation. Credit was extended to the retailers to maximise sales.

It was a great opportunity for the family to acquire the knowledge and practice of retail distributorship. As cigarettes sales involved heavy financing and exchange of large amount of cash, the distributors also learnt the task of handling large amount of money. Most distributors, enriched with this BAT distribution experience ventured into distribution of other products.

All in all the association with BAT has been a win-win to both BAT and the distributors.


#1 Olivier on 01.24.09 at 11:36 am

Was my great-grandfather actually making cigarettes? What kind? Under license?

#2 joseph on 01.25.09 at 8:35 pm

Very artisanal machine and hand tools to roll the cigarettes from dried raw tobacco leaves. Cottage manufacturing in the 20’s. The more industrial factory was started by Roger Leung’s grand father.

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