News International has set up the industry’s “biggest” field force to help retailers boost sales across the news category.

The publisher of The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times has recruited 25 specialist field sales reps and three managers who will regularly visit independent retailers to help maximise newspaper sales and improve category management.

The sales force will initially visit 5,000 retailers across Britain who are committed to growing their newspaper sales. They will assist with in-store display and help set up sales-driving initiatives such as home news delivery. The team will also be approaching stores which do not currently sell newspapers to demonstrate the benefits of setting up a news service.

NI chief executive Tom Mockridge said: “We want the new field sales team to be the interface with our customers, the retailers. Being a retailer is tough at the moment, but they do a great job for us and it’s important for us to help them improve and grow their businesses.

He added: “I believe it’s crucial to continue to promote the selling of newspapers and keep them in the strong position they have enjoyed for the past 100 years.”