London — Britain’s major supermarkets have sought to reassure smokers that the collapse of the UK’s biggest tobacco distributor, Palmer and Harvey (P&H), would not lead to shortages of cigarettes. The distributor, which also delivers food and drink to supermarkets and convenience stores, went into administration on Tuesday after running out of cash, raising the possibility of tobacco product shortages across the country. However, Tesco and Sainsbury’s said they had set in train contingency plans to ensure their stores were stocked with sufficient tobacco products. "We can reassure Sainsbury’s customers that we have strong contingencies in place," said a spokesman for the chain. A Tesco spokesman said: "We will work to ensure that we can continue to meet our customers’ shopping needs." Analysts said major retailers would typically hold a few days’ tobacco stock. As Palmer and Harvey had been teetering on the brink of collapse for several months the major retailers would have been tal...

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