Smiths News has begun to deliver baked goods from Hovis to multiples, sparking concern among retailers that newspaper deliveries will suffer.
One retailer affected by the trial, Jack Bhatt from Universal Newsagent in north London said: “The papers are late as it is, the move shows a lack of respect for newsagents.”
Bhatt's shop is under 10 metres from a tube station with a Metro free paper stand. He added that any further delays would further push customers to picking up free papers instead. He also described the Smiths News diversification to other deliveries stating: "It shows two, things, the first is that due to the decline in sales the publishers can no longer demand exclusive distribution. The second is that Smiths News wants a finger in every pie, from fidget spinners to parcels, but a jack of all trades is often a master of none."
A spokesperson from Hovis told Retail Express: “We are initiating a small scale trial with Smiths News on joint deliveries to smaller format stores to support the growth of the Hovis brand.”
Asked to confirm that the trial wouldn’t impact its news operation or newsagents, a spokesperson from Smiths News said: “‘Our operational team have taken great care in reviewing and implementing appropriate measures to ensure a smooth transition for our independent retailers.”