Almost 60% of Convenience Store readers who sell newspapers and magazines suffer unrequested changes to their allocations every week, and the same proportion would welcome a move to a more open news supply chain.
In a telephone poll of 100 readers, 59% said they would prefer to have a choice of news wholesalers in their area rather than the system of protected territories currently enjoyed by the suppliers.
Although one in three retailers said their allocations were changed by the supplier two or more times every week, 83% agreed that they were satisfied with the service they got from their wholesaler, with only 7% saying they were very unhappy with their current service.
C-Store's survey also revealed that most retailers stock news and magazines mainly as a service to customers rather than a source of revenue or footfall. Only 21% said profit was their main motive, with even fewer, 13%, saying they stocked them primarily to drive sales of additional categories.
A third of retailers said their profit from the sector had improved over the past year, with 24% noticing a fall. And despite a decrease in magazine and newspaper circulation figures over the past year, only 3% said they had reduced the space dedicated to the fixture in the past 12 months.
Separate research carried out for the Association of News Retailing (ANR) last month also revealed a desire for change in system among independent retailers, with 65% of the 1,015 surveyed saying they would like more choice over where they source their newspapers and magazines.
ANR managing director John Lennon said the findings indicated a clear desire for change. He added that the ACS research revealed that only 35% of respondents were aware of the Industry Standard Service Agreement (ISSA), the industry's regulatory agreement. "The research shows that the current self-regulation process is not widely understood by retailers, and this supports the view that these systems are not working effectively," he said.