Seymour looks to increase magazine reuse to 30m

Based on current weekly sales, the 30-million target is equivalent to the entire volume of magazines sold by stores in 14 weeks

Magazine distributor Seymour is looking to increase the number of unsold copies being resold or reused to 30 million per year, with the help of independent retailers. 

Speaking to publishers at a seminar this month, Seymour client services director Duncan Shearer outlined how nine million magazines returned to wholesale were redistributed to overseas markets or donated to schools through its Recycle to Read programme. 

Responding to betterRetailing, Shearer said: “We’re trying to create that circular economy. We’ve spoken to some of your readership about how we might roll that out in the future with the Recycle to Read programme, we did a workshop up in Birmingham recently as well as working with the bigger multiple groups. Independents will play a pivotal role in all of this.” 

Previously, ‘two-tier’ magazine resale trials with publisher Egmont had redistributed copies unsold in supermarkets to independent stores a month later, angering store owners and The Fed. 

However, former Egmont staff and wholesale sources said they were unaware of an ongoing ‘two-tier’ scheme other than unsold being redistributed in Ireland

Shearer said a barrier to the 30-million target was the high cost of redistributing titles. “At the moment, if your [magazine] production values are less than 40p, it’s not worth you doing it, it’s cost prohibitive. 

“That’s not to say in the future we can’t grow the infrastructure and really ramp this up… It’s on the agenda for our longer-term plans.” 

Based on current weekly sales, the 30-million target is equivalent to the entire volume of magazines sold by stores in 14 weeks. 

The seminar also outlined how publishers were responding to the cost-of-living crisis. This included running heavy discounts only made available in supermarkets. Examples included ‘buy two, save £2’ and discounts for loyalty-scheme holders. 

Titles with regular money-saving tips, discounts or free items were also promoted as key ways to keep cash-strapped customers purchasing magazines. 

A potential risk identified was shoppers moving to Aldi or Lidl, which stock no and little magazines, respectively. In response, Shearer said publishers such as Egmont were pushing customers towards traditional supermarkets with larger ranges. “What can we do to encourage customers into retailers that are important to us?” he explained. 

While supermarkets were the ones bagging exclusive deals and advertising support from publishers, the latest data shows convenience stores still have a greater importance for publishers than before the pandemic

Sales figures covering early December from rival distributor Marketforce show the market share held by convenience stores remains higher than before the pandemic, accounting for nearly £1 in every £4 spent on magazines. 

Read more news and advice about the newspaper and magazines category and click here for the latest ABC circulation figures


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