MSA Multicat Guide

Multicat is the format used to submit data to manufacturers or MSA. As the name implies, Multicat enables the participant (distributor) to provide data across multiple categories. Multicat reports are weekly reports filed electronically by tobacco, candy, drinks, and grocery distributors to report sales and inventory floor count to brand manufacturers as part of participating in trade programs. The Multicat report slightly varies between different trading programs but the report standard structure is the same. The reports are uploaded electronically directly to manufactures or through the MSAi reporting system which in turn passes the brands data to the manufacturers.

Benefits of MSA Reporting

Maintain Direct Purchasing Status

For a tobacco distributor to purchase products directly from a manufacturer, the manufacturer requires weekly accurate sales and inventory data reporting. Some manufacturers collect the data using their own systems like Swedish Match, while the majority hire MSA to collect the data on their behalf. Data is monitored very closely and analyzed against the supply chain; if a distributor is found reporting inaccurate data, a warning is issued, and repeat offenses could cost the distributor its purchasing status.

Receive Manufacturer Rebates

Tobacco manufacturers offer distributors rebates for reaching sales quotas. (A quota is set by the manufacturer, and is defined in the purchasing contract with the distributor.) In return, manufacturers are able to analyze their brand distribution data quickly and accurately. Accurate marketing data saves costs and increases profits for manufacturing companies.

Allow Your Customers to Receive Manufacturer Rebates

For distributors that report data to manufacturers, their customers (retailers) can enroll in trade programs to receive rebates upon reaching sales quotas. "A customer could be a retailer or a non-direct distributor." Retailers that buy from non-reporting distributors will be unable to enroll in trade programs, costing them potential savings in rebates.

Gain Sales Data Verification

Reported data is used by both manufacturers and government jurisdictions. For example, state revenue departments can obtain access to this data to compare it to their monthly filed tax returns data. Therefore, reporting accurate and consistent data to both manufacturers and government is essential to avoid tax audits. MSAi data can be used by states to compare to tax reports. A state can request MSAi data during an audit.


It is clear that reporting shipments data to MSAi or directly to manufacturers benefits manufacturers, wholesale distributors and their customers (retailers).