An online petition organised by the National Federation of Newsagents (NFRN) and the Association of News Retailers (ANR), which between them represent over 40,000 stores, aims to persuade the OFT to re-examine the newspaper and magazine distribution industry and address “widespread concerns about anti-competitive behaviour.”
It calls on the OFT to refer the market to a full Competition Commission (CC) investigation in response to the recent contraction of the distribution chain to just two regional wholesalers.
Stefan Wojciechowski, head of news and magazines at the NFRN, said: “Every day I hear from members telling me that they are worried about their future and every day I have to tell them that they have every right to be worried. More than 500 newsagents went bankrupt last year and I am certain that many more will have to shut their doors if remedial action is not taken.
“I urge every newsagent in the country to sign the petition to put pressure on the OFT. “
ANR’s John Lennon added: “It is clear that the OFT must act now to establish a level playing field in the newspaper and magazine distribution industry.”
The petition argues that the two regional monopolies remove almost all competition from the market. “With no choice of supplier, this means that newsagents are powerless against price hikes,” it says.
The two associations have delivered a joint submission to the OFT which lays out the case for a CC referral. In it they say that self-regulation in the news industry, without the force of legal under-pinning, does not work, and the exclusion of Dawson News from the market “rides a coach and horses” through the OFT’s 2008 Opinion, in which it called for greater competition in magazine wholesaling.
Are you concerned about the effect the changes will have on your business?
Sign the petition at www.ipetitions.com/petition/savebritainsnewsagents