Dawson's plans for an orderly withdrawal from the trade were thrown into confusion by last month's shock announcement. It brings into question Dawson's ability to fulfil the remainder of its contract obligations with other publishers and it is now seeking an agreement with rivals Smiths and Menzies Distribution to arrange a handover.
West Sussex retailer Steve Denham felt the accelerated departure would raise serious questions for retailers. "The concern is that some Dawson customers will have been forced to provide deposit money," he said. "Is this safe? Will retailers be required to stump up more money to the new wholesaler?"
Retailers affected by NI's new distribution arrangements report that the service has settled in after some initial difficulties. Lesley Brown of Frankmarsh Stores in Barnstaple, Devon, told C-Store: "We went from having our papers at 4.45am to 6am. We explained what this would do to our news sales and we have been promised it would get better. The rest of the week deliveries arrived at 5.30am."