Malcolm Thomas who runs a small, traditional, unlicensed CTN in Launceston, Cornwall, was ticked off to see that the Threshers next door had recently changed its format to include some basic convenience lines such as bread and milk and has introduced newspapers which it is selling at half price. "Can it sell below cost?" asks Malcolm.
His wholesaler, Smith's in Plymouth, says Threshers can sell them at whatever price it likes. Smith's isn't providing a sale or return service to Threshers.
David Daniel, director at the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN), told me: "We come across this often. If it's any consolation to the retailer, this policy is generally short-lived with the mults and chains. It usually lasts only a few short weeks. It's just not sustainable. After all, they are all in business to make money."
And, as further solace, I would say to Malcolm that Threshers is also having to meet the minimum entry level for sales and so is already subsidising Smith's.