Publishers and wholesalers enforce contingency plans following Queen’s death

Independent retailers were notified on 8 September of plans to mitigate supply disruption of newspapers and magazines


Newspaper publishers and wholesalers were quick to announce contingency plans for the delivery of national and local titles across the UK, following the passing of HM Elizabeth II’s yesterday.

Her son, King Charles III, announced that the Queen, aged 96, had passed away at Balmoral on Thursday afternoon, after reigning for 70 years.

News wholesalers Smiths News and Menzies were quick to update stores of a 45-minute cut-off extension for 9 September, which would lead to likely delivery delays.

At the time, Smiths warned supply may be affected, largely down to either the cut-off extension, split supply due to increased print volumes, magazine delivery disruption and limited availability of supplements on weekend editions of specific titles.

A notification sent to stores read: “Publishers are planning to significantly increase print runs and pagination, we will endeavour to deliver your full supply in one go, but there may be certain areas where supplies need to be split.” The wholesaler urged retailers to refrain from raising claims until reception of full supply.

“Your magazines may arrive on either a pre-run or a post-run due to the expected increase in weight and volume of live news. Finally, we are also expecting increased volumes of copies to be printed over the weekend. Unfortunately, usual newspaper weekend supplements have already been printed and so there will be no increase in supplements available.”

Similarly, a letter sent to stores by Menzies read: “Branches are implementing plans to source additional vehicles and drivers. We are in the process of contacting all employees and contractors to come in early for tonight’s shifts. We are also intending to extend shifts across the next few days wherever possible.”

National titles including the Daily Mail, The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express, the Daily Star, the Daily Record and The Telegraph, alerted independents of plans to increase their print volumes between 30-60%. The Sun increased supply by 20%, followed by regional titles across the UK (15%) and the Financial Times (5%).

Menzies also confirmed it expected volume uplifts to continue into the weekend and informed retailers that it will share more details in due course.

With regard to magazines, it said: “Across the network we intend to pre-run Friday’s magazine distribution in localised areas where this is not possible, magazine distribution may be held.” It added that plans concerning magazine schedules were in the process of being laid out with distributors.

The Daily Mail also informed stores of newspaper supply delays stating it would increase its supply volumes by circa 450,000 copies on 9 September. A letter from senior national account manager Andy Law read: “We will work with wholesale to try and minimise the disruption and get copies to stores as soon as possible.”

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