Reach slashes margins on Sunday newspapers for sixth time this year

The move means profit margins for retailers will shrink from 20% to 19.5% for both affected Sunday papers

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Reach has cut retailer margins on the Sunday editions of two of its national newspapers, marking the sixth time this year.

In a letter sent to stores, and seen by Better Retailing, the publisher confirmed that from 3 July, the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People will increase in price by 10p to £2.10 across the UK, except for the Channel Islands.

In a blow to independent retailers who stock the papers, the move means their profit margins will shrink from 20% to 19.5% for both papers on Sundays. The profit paid to retailers per copy sold will be 40.95p.

The move comes a week after Reach announced it will increase the cover price for weekday and Saturday editions of the Daily Express and the Daily Star, maintaining pro-rata terms.

Commenting on the announcement, The Fed’s national president Jason Birks said the decision “lets down the very people who have kept the newstrade going”.

“Just days ago, Reach included pro-rata terms following price increases. It therefore goes against the grain to now say the same conditions do not apply to these Sunday titles,” he added.

Trevor Whitehouse, from Court News in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, told Better Retailing this was “terrible” news for his business and that it would affect margins and footfall.

“We are losing customers. They are either leaving completely or cutting back because they can’t justify the price of these papers,” he said.

“The continual increases are destroying sales. This is not only about profits, but also about being able to sell copies in the first place. Customers cannot cope with inflated prices.”

Reach’s most recent changes last week marked the sixth time this year that the publisher has increased cover prices for Monday-to-Friday and Saturday editions of four of its national titles.

In May, Reach also revealed a raft of price increases for numerous regional titles. In total, Reach has cut retailer margins four times since the start of 2022.

Since March, the publisher has been slashing margins below 20%, despite the publisher’s senior figures having previously reassured retailers they wouldn’t dip below 20%.

Shailesh Patel, owner of Jan’s in Cockfosters, north London, told Better Retailing the pace at which price increases are happening is “shocking”.

“It seems the publishers not only don’t care about us as retailers, but also completely neglect the few customers who buy and read hard copies of their titles,” he said. Reach was approached for comment.

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