Palmerston North police are asking people to be on the alert for discounted cigarettes after the Rangiora Mini Mart was robbed for cash and smokes this evening.

Detective Sergeant Dave Wishnowsky said a group of people entered the store on Rangiora Ave around 6.10pm.

Their faces were covered and one was armed with what looked like a bat, he said.

The number of people, how old they were and whether they were male or female is not known.

"The group assaulted the staff member and left the store with an unknown amount of cash and cigarettes," Wishnowsky said. "It is not thought the staff member was assaulted with the weapon."

The staff member was being assessed at Palmerston North Hospital but did not appear to have serious injuries.

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Fairfax is reporting the store is the Rangiora Mini Mart which was also robbed in December 2016 by three people armed with a hammer and machete.

Police are making inquiries and conducting a scene examination.

"It is likely that the people involved may have cigarettes on them and be trying to sell them for a discounted rate," Wishnowsky said.

"If you are offered any discounted cigarettes, police ask that you come forward."

Information can be reported to Palmerston North Police Station on (06) 351 3600 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.