Retailers expressed relief after Newsprinters’ confirmed its plans to close its Knowsley print site have officially been put on hold, with the consultation with staff ‘stopped’.
Speaking to the Fed this week, a spokesperson for News UK revealed: “An alternative opportunity has now emerged which, if successful, will keep all three Newsprinters sites open and printing.
It is the shared view of the wider leadership teams at Newsprinters and News UK that this is a positive and credible option as we aim to preserve the future of our printing business and save jobs.
“We are now stopping the consultation process as we focus on developing this new option.”
The Knowsley closure would have moved News UK’s printing to its sites in Broxbourne near London and Eurocentral near Glasgow. Experts and stores expressed fears of supply disruption, due to some retailers’ papers having to travel hundreds of miles extra under the closure plan.
The change in strategy was welcomed by the Fed and retailers. Shumaila Malik, owner of Withington Costcutter in Manchester told RN: “It’s nice to hear that it isn’t going that way. Obviously it’s a huge relief.”
Malik added that her store had been concerned about added delays if deliveries to their nearest depot had to come in from Broxbourne or Glasgow. She said: “It happens more and more. The papers come in later, people don’t buy them, they lose the habit of reading papers. Retailers are trying to adapt, but the closure would have caused huge problems.”
Hitendra Thakrar, who runs a Premier Express in Farnworth, told RN that the site staying open would “make a big difference”.
“I was concerned about it closing,” he said. “I thought there would be a lot more delays because of it. This will be a big relief.”
However, some retailers did express concerns that the unknown solution might not be enough to prevent ongoing delays. Hamlatta Patel of K & L Newsagents in Cheshire told RN: “We’ve had papers late three times this week,” she said. “I’m more concerned there being enough drivers to get papers to me even when they are on time from depot. It’s hard to think this will help when I can’t get answers about why my papers are delayed.”
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