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Newsagents blast ‘kick in the teeth’ from regional publisher

Narinder NFRNNewsagents have criticised what they describe as a “kick in the teeth” from a regional publisher amid a row over margins.

The Federation of Independent Retailers, known as The Fed, has expressed “deep dismay” at a decision by Reach plc amid cover price increases at a number of its titles.

According to The Fed, Reach is planning a cut in the percentage margin that news stockists receive at the same time as the increases.

From Monday, there will be rises of 10p on a large number of the group’s regional titles including the South Wales Evening Post, Western Mail, Teesside Gazette, Grimsby Telegraph and Cambridge News.

At the same time, The Fed says the percentage margin that retailers receive will be cut to as low as 16.5 per cent on some of the publications.

The Fed national president Narinder Randhawa, pictured, said: “This is yet another kick in the teeth for hard-pressed retailers.

“We totally get why Reach have to raise their cover prices – these are very tough times, indeed, but Fed members are facing considerable financial pressures too.

“We try, time and again, to explain to decision-makers in the newspaper industry the impact that cutting percentage margins has on independents.

“We need pro rata terms just to stand still. This latest news from these publishing giants is another big blow.”

In Scotland, Monday to Friday editions of the Daily Record will now cost £1, and £1.60 on Saturdays, while the Sunday Mail will rise to £2.30.

The new margin for the Daily Record will be 19.5pc on Monday to Friday editions and 19pc on the Saturday newspaper. The Fed says the Sunday Mail margin is being adjusted to 19.5pc.

Mr Randhawa added: “While each cover price rise does offer some pence per copy increases, this is limited, and Fed members will not see such moves as in the interest of a fair trading relationship.

“I have said it before and will say it again – cover price increases and margin cuts will cause more people to exit from the category when the net percentage margin and volume sold is evaluated against the space it is given.”

HTFP has approached Reach for a comment.