Small newsagents paying carriage charges (CC) within the minimum and maximum bands determined by their wholesalers should beware of stealth cuts to their margins, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) has warned.

According to trade relations manager David Daniel, an increasing number of regional publishers are giving up direct delivery to retailers and handing over delivery and unsolds collection to their wholesalers.

"Recent correspondence with Smiths News confirms that the value of these supplies will be added to news sheet values when their periodic review of Delivery Service Charge next takes place, and retailers will start paying carriage charges on the value of the regional titles delivered by the wholesaler, effectively cutting the retail margin on these titles," Daniel said.

The only way that individual retailers can combat this is by taking control of the selling price themselves, which could lead to them becoming less competitive.

He added: "What truly stinks about this process is that this stealth cut affects only small independent retailers. Larger retailers and the multiples will be unaffected."