The Association of News Retailing (ANR) has announced it will block any moves by publishers and wholesalers to introduce Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for retailers over the way they handle newspapers and magazines.

Under the proposed scheme, which publishers are hoping to raise at the news industry forum Joint Industry Group (JIG), retailers could be forced to stock certain magazines for the duration of their lifecycle and not be allowed to send under-performing titles back early. The retailers who try to send back titles could then be stopped from selling magazines altogether.

The ANR believes the proposals, which it says publishers and wholesalers have been planning for some time, is an attempt by the two groups to exert further control over which newspapers and magazines retailers stock and how they display them in-store.

However, the association, which mainly represents c-store news retailers, will veto the proposals if they are brought up, because it claims KPIs for retailers are “unjustifiable and unnecessary”.

ANR managing director John Lennon said: “Publishers and wholesalers have tried to make retailers panic over the numbers they incorrectly claim will go out of business due to the Office of Fair Trading’s provisional conclusion of the newspaper and magazine supply chain, and now they are trying to sneak this proposal through the back door. Retailers are already accountable enough for the service they provide. If what they do in store is further policed, customers will go elsewhere.”

Lennon called for stronger KPIs for wholesalers, saying they should be made accountable for the service they provide, with effective sanctions for service failure.