24 Feb 2009

Cuban cigar sales drop amid global crisis

1:46 pm on 24 February 2009

Sales of Cuban cigars dropped by 3% to $US390 million in 2008 due to the world financial crisis and the spread of anti-smoking laws.

Distributor Habanos S.A. says the fall in sales reflectes a decline in the market for luxury products in general.

However, vice president Manuel Garcia expects to maintain sales in 2009 at around the 2008 level.

He said on Monday that three hurricanes last year did minimal damage to supplies in the main tobacco growing state of Pinar del Rio.

Thousands of curing barns were damaged by the storms, but most were rebuilt in time for the curing season.