Independent retailers have hit out at today’s (Friday) Tesco wraparound on The Sun newspaper.

The front page Tesco advert features the strapline ‘At Tesco, lots of brands are now cheaper’. But Dan Cock, of Whitstone Stores in Devon, said he and his customers objected to the wraparound.

“I think it stinks a bit,” he added. “The Sun says it is a supporter of local shops so I don’t know what they’re playing at. We’re also in the middle of a massive news story so it’s distasteful. I threw the wraparounds away, as have a lot of other retailers.”

He said his customers were questioning how much the adverts cost Tesco, at a time when it has announced a raft of store closures which will result in inevitable staff layoffs. “I dread to think what News UK have charged for this,” he said. “The whole thing comes across as desperation on Tesco’s part.”

Mark Canniford, of Spar Weston-super-Mare, said: “If The Sun wants to support a brand that is failing, that says a lot about their brand. We have this massive story in France and they are supporting their mates at Tesco.”

NFRN head of news Brian Murphy said: “On one of the most important news days it is puzzling that The Sun would decide to hide its front page behind a wraparound and possibly deter people from buying the newspaper.

“Equally baffling is the fact that it has chosen to promote a retailer which will shortly no longer be selling the title in 43 of its stores.

“The importance of a headline and front page story is paramount to the sale of any newspaper and I hope no newspaper publisher forgets this golden rule going forward.”