The Mirror and the Telegraph announced price increases this week, but only the former has protected retailer margins.
On 1 February, the Mirror weekday editions rose 5p to 90p in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI), and 95p in Scotland.
The title’s 20% margin was maintained, equating to 18p and 19p respective margins on copies sold – a 1p increase.
Based on the latest ABC results, in February alone, the pro-rata rise represents an extra £71,083.06 in margin for stores from the EWNI edition.
Conversely, from 6 February, the Telegraph’s Saturday editions will rise 20p to £3, but retailer pence margins will be frozen, giving the edition the lowest margin of any national newspaper at 19.1%.
Based on extrapolated ABC results, the percentage margin cut is equivalent to £66,917.42 in lost profits for stores in February alone.
A similar move last January angered retailers, leading Co-op to remove the Telegraph from sale in its stores.
In December, Reach had cut percentage margins on the Daily Star, Daily Express and Saturday editions of the Daily Mirror.
Discussing the change in approach, the NFRN said Reach was “acting on members’ concerns” after it had demanded future price rises protected percentage margins.
NFRN national president Stuart Reddish said: “Reach executives have clearly taken on board our arguments and have responded positively by applying pro-rata terms to its latest price increases.”
In a letter to stores, the Mirror’s sales team wrote: “At this challenging time for the trade, can we pass on our thanks to retail colleagues for all the support that you give our titles, day in, day out.”
The Telegraph refused to comment and said the matter was “commercially confidential”. A letter from the publisher seen by Better Retailing promised retailer margins would be returned to 20.5% in August.
HND agent Brian Webb, owner of Webbs of Leverington in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, contrasted the differing publishers’ approach, stating: “We work every day but Christmas, and they don’t even have the decency to give us a proper share of the pay.”
John Vine, owner of Newsworld in Church Stretton, Shropshire, said: “I sell 15 copies of the Mirror a day, but 250 copies of the Saturday Telegraph, so this isn’t going to balance out.
“The Telegraph needs to know reader loyalty isn’t to their paper, it’s to their community. Our customers look out for us and will be disgusted to hear what the Telegraph is doing.”
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