Attempts to reform the supply chain for newspapers and magazines face a setback with the news that the British Retail Consortium (BRC) is withdrawing from the Joint Industry Group (JIG).
BRC, which represents the multiple retailers, believes the group's work will end when the OFT publishes the results of its inquiries into the supply chain, due later this year. Since 1998 JIG has brought together representatives of publishers, wholesalers and retailers to find solutions to the newstrade's distribution problems.
However, many observers consider its progress to have been impeded by the requirement that all seven member associations must agree for its decisions to be ratified.
A BRC spokesman said: "With the OFT's decision on the industry due before the end of the year, the group's work is naturally winding down now. At this stage, what the OFT says will be more important than anything the group can do.
"To be sure that we are spending retailers' money effectively, we regularly review our memberships of other organisations. We feel that this one has run its course."
JIG chairman Peter Wagg said he was unable to comment on the BRC's withdrawal until it had served a three-month notice period. However, he denied that the group's work was coming to an end. "Whatever decision the OFT comes to, there's still plenty of work for us to do," he told Convenience Store.