As I’m sure newsagents will be aware, the NFRN delivered an ‘explosive’ 32-page document to the Competition and Markets Authority in April, calling for an investigation into the distribution of newspapers and magazines.
It highlighted spiralling carriage charges, reduced margins, deteriorating service and restrictions on range and quality of titles supplied.
The NFRN warned that, because news wholesalers enjoy absolute territorial protection (ATP), they have little incentive to provide an adequate service to retailers who have no opportunity to switch suppliers. It pointed out that newspapers and magazines are the only product sold by its members which are both protected by ATP and have a fixed universal cover price.
The document called for ATP to be removed to reintroduce competition and allow retailers to choose who they do business with.
Most recently I’ve been sent pictures by two regular critics of Smiths News - Haren Bhatt from Islington (Universal News) and Bhavin Patel (Tylers Green Stores, North Weald, Essex). The pictures were all of tote boxes in their various states of undress and disarray.
Haren got soggy magazines and Bhavin got damaged papers which managed to rumple up the front page photo of the newly-wedded royal couple.
Given that this was one of only two copies of the Daily Telegraph received that day, it really was shoddy service.