Archant to cease in-house printing

Stores supplied by Menzies Distribution face bill increases of up to £121 per year from April following its first carriage service charge (CSC) rise in two years.

Menzies blamed wages, Brexit, Covid-19 and inflation for the 3.5% increase from 9 April. Stores with the smallest news bills will see their weekly CSC rise by £1.24 to £35.31 per week, while the largest news bills face a £2.34 rise to £69.28 per week.

A letter to stores from Menzies’ newstrade managing director, Grant Jordan, said it worked to make sure “rate reviews are reasonable and fair”, referencing its decision in 2021 to freeze CSCs.

Carriage charge increase is a further cost to independent retailers

However, stores disagreed. Hussan Lal, owner of Capital News in Paisley, Renfrewshire, told betterRetailing: “We’re paying for service levels that we’re not receiving. Combined with other pressures, Menzies’ increase will knock out businesses.”

NFRN national president Narinder Randhawa said: “Where are retailers supposed to find the cash to fund this increase? Wholesalers should be going to the publishers who not only control cover prices, but the margins across the industry, too.”

A Menzies spokesperson told RN: “Menzies is committed to its role in the newstrade end-to-end supply chain. The logistics sector is facing a number of well-documented challenges which are impacting the costs directly associated with the delivery and collection of newspapers and magazines. Whilst we are able to drive out some costs within our operations, there are wider economic influences outside of our control, including; a National Living Wage increase of 6.6%, Freight Transport Association index increase of 5.7% and CPI increase of 5.5%.

“We worked hard to minimise disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which included a freeze of CSC in 2021. We have also worked hard to keep any increases this year well under the current rate of inflation, as well as maintaining a cap on weekly increases for retailers. The average increase for independent retailers is 2.08%.

“We have a programme of support available to our customers to help maximise sales, including:

  • Superleague – providing category advice, training, promotions, magazine range/planogram assistance, dedicated help desk and Account Manager, Point of Sale and a personalised monthly newsletter
  • A specialist team of Retail Development Advisors (RDA) – visiting stores to support and provide guidance on magazine display, procedural queries, in store racking solutions, training and advice on maximising sales of the newspaper and magazine category
  • i-Menzies and our customer service centre on hand, with advisers set up to discuss any account concerns or queries, this includes setting up Superleague membership and RDA access”

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