The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has criticised the decision by News International to hike delivery charges for its Direct To Retail delivery operation within the M25 by 4.3%.

According to the ACS, the decision comes as a blow to retailers already suffering from increases by newspaper and magazine wholesalers Smiths News and Menzies Dsitribution, who raised their carriage charges by 4.2% and 4.3% respectively.

Chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers in London have now suffered a double blow, first News International ended dual deliveries in all locations in the country expect for in their area and now they hear that they are facing an inflation-busting increase.

“These charges are imposed on retailers and they have no choice but to accept them,” added Lowman. “This lack of choice is a basic unfairness that is at the root of the problems that hold back the news and magazine industry. ACS remains committed to ending this out-dated and unsustainable market practice that chokes innovation and harms consumers.”