Leading news publisher News UK has developed a new ‘help centre’ to provide support for stores forced to close or facing challenges due to the coronavirus.

A spokesperson for the firm told betterRetailing: “Through our News Retail website https://www.newsretail.co.uk/ we have made it much easier for Retailers to engage with us, we have introduced a new help centre that covers supply, point of sale, access to PPE etc, plus a ‘request a visit’ option where stores that may have temporarily closed can ask for our help in advance of re-opening.”

Asked about its plans to return its field team to providing in-store support for independent retailers, the publisher responded: “Following UK, National and local government guidance, and having conducted all relevant risk assessments, we plan to recommence visits and support of independent convenience stores from 1 July.” Outlining its plans for the visits, the company commented: “We will continue to follow and respect the hygiene, social distancing and working policies and practices that have been established for trading during this challenging period. Our only ask of our retailer partners is that they understand if our team are unable to spend the same amount of time with them in store as previously.”

News UK added that it would work to agree visit times in advance and also look to minimise the minutes spent presenting and discussing the category in store in order to reduce the risk of transmission.

The company is looking to use the return of reps to help stores capitalise in changes in customer habits during lockdown. The spokesperson explained “Given the huge success we have had in supporting our retail partners on Home News Delivery, with over 260,000 new Home News Delivery orders across the industry through Deliver My Newspaper, we will be focussed on supporting retailers in maintaining this new additional business and driving additional orders and sales.”

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