Independent retailers have welcomed the impending launch of the Sun on Sunday, which will fill the gap left by the closure of The News of the World.

News International used the front page of Monday’s edition of The Sun to announce that the new tabloid would hit the shelves this Sunday. Although many retailers expected the decision, the sudden timing of the announcement has taken them by surprise.

Lionel Cashin, of The News Shop, Market Weighton, said: “All independents should welcome the news. When the NotW closed, a number of Sunday papers did an enormous amount trying to get converts, but it wasn’t enough. But I had no idea it would happen now.”

Jon Ellis, of Town Common News in Christchurch, added: “I’ve had two orders for something I didn’t even know existed! It’s all good news, but it would’ve been nice to be told.”

Dave Newman, of Westhill Stores, Hastings, said The Sun on Sunday would definitely generate a short-term sales boost at the least. But he warned of a potential backlash due to the nature of the NotW’s closure. “Lots of people don’t touch Rupert Murdoch papers now.”

News International is yet to announce details of the new Sunday newspaper, but said it would be providing point of sale for retailers which will be available later this week.

But news retailers have warned News International that it must launch at an appropriate price and with attractive retail terms if it wants to achieve the support of independent newsagents.

National Federation of Retail Newsagents chief executive Paul Baxter added: “The launch of the Sun on Sunday gives News International a great opportunity to win back the confidence of both retailers and consumers. They would do well to remember that independent newsagents account for well over half of all newspaper sales and they will be making a decision whether or not to support the Sun on Sunday if the margin and price are unrealistic.”