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Sunday title to increase cover price before New Year

A Scottish Sunday title is set to increase its cover price by 10p before the New Year.

The Sunday Post will put up its price from £1.30 to £1.40 on 29 December but the National Federation of Retail Newsagents has hit out at the move because it is being accompanied by a cut in retail margins for newsagents.

Margins for retailers are set to be cut from 23pc to 22pc, so they will receive a smaller cut for each copy of the DC Thomson title sold.

The NRFN has also hit out at the “poor delivery performance” of The Sunday Post, which it said had been a problem throughout this year.

It also praised fellow Scottish titles The Herald and The Scotsman, which it said had higher margins for retailers.

Paul Baxter, NFRN chief executive, said: “News retailers are already hacked off by the poor delivery performance of the Sunday Post which has been topping the leader board in terms of late deliveries throughout 2013.

“There have been prolonged instances of lateness and re-running in the North of England, together with unacceptable delays caused by software issues with the new presses.

“But DC Thomson is failing to get to grips with the problems and performance is still poor. For instance there have been 80 instances of lateness and 60 instances of missed cut offs during October, November and December and in this month alone the Sunday Post has been late on 22 occasions, while the cut off into wholesale has been missed 14 times.

“Now DC Thomson has shown even greater disregard for the people who sell the title by cutting their terms and not even being brave enough to formally notify NFRN members.

“We will be reminding all our members that the rrp of the Sunday Post is legally only a recommended retail price and therefore not enforceable and that retailers are free to decide the ultimate selling point to ensure they receive the margin they deserve.

“It will also come as no surprise if members decide to throw all their backing behind the Herald and Scotsman who really recognise the worth of news retailers and support them with higher margins.”

Neil Mackland, DC Thomson group head of circulation, said a notice had been sent out this week to let retail and wholesale contacts know about the price rise.

He said: “The profit per copy percentage for retailers will go down by 1pc to 22pc which ensures that The Sunday Post retains a competitive retailer margin within the Sunday newspaper market. At 22pc we are still providing a better margin than a number of our close competitors.”

Chief executive Ellis Watson added: “Throughout 2013, we’ve invested almost £30m in an impressive new printing works here in Dundee.

“Admittedly, we had teething problems but we’ve kept in constant communication with the NFRN and with our readers and retailers to keep them abreast of our developments and to apologise when our service levels were below what we all expect from DC Thomson.

“We are now delivering newspapers that are bigger, brighter, more exciting and better value. This was demonstrated in 2013 when The Sunday Post received industry recognition as the Scottish Newspaper of the Year.  We’re continuing with a considerable number of improvements to our papers in 2014 which will result in better products for our readers and retailers alike.”