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Brexit is continuing to cause issues to the supply of international newspapers, resulting in lost sales for independent retailers. 

Research conducted by RN last week revealed that at least four European newspaper publishers ceased distribution of their titles in the UK post-Brexit. Affected daily titles include French newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro, the Spanish daily El País, and the Italian Corriere della Sera. 

Independent retailers claim this has left them out of pocket and unable to meet customer demand. Mark Dudden, of Albany News in Cardiff, said he hasn’t received copies of the French, Spanish and Italian titles since 2020. 

“For two years now, I haven’t been able to get any of these titles, and I didn’t even know why,” he said. “I would only stock and sell a limited number of copies, but it still had a positive impact on my category revenues.” 

Smiths News confirmed that several international publishers have stopped distribution. “Le Monde and Le Figaro stopped distribution permanently to the UK in January,” a spokesperson said. 

The wholesaler also confirmed Corriere della Sera has halted its supply, and El País ceased import into the UK in 2021. 

Brexit regulations have also impacted the timeliness and supply volumes of foreign magazines from across Europe, with many retailers having to reassess their entire category range. 

Alex Maxwell, owner of La Biblioteka in Sheffield, told RN that since the launch of his store in 2018, his magazine range has reduced significantly. 

“Four years ago, 100% of my shelves had magazines on them,” he said. “Now getting magazines from Europe is complicated and prices are very high; my store is 80% books and 20% magazines.” 

However, Seymour Distribution, the largest importer of foreign magazine titles into the UK, said that while new regulations did initially have an impact, it has been “minimal”. 

Import group account manager Mark Swan said: “As of 1 January 2022, the UK imposed its new trade guidelines. These new regulations did impact the importation of foreign magazines as additional paperwork was required for HMRC, which created delays, and this did initially cause some issues to be late on sale. Now things have settled down quite significantly.” 

Swan stated currently there are no availability restrictions for independent retailers for imported titles. 

“All of the imported magazine press is available to independents without restriction,” he said. “If it’s a request at short notice, then the branch may not be able to order in time. However, if we have enough notice, copies should be available. Please contact your wholesale branch to secure copies as you would with a UK product.” 

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