I received a letter on Friday and identified – from the handwriting on the envelope – its author as Subhash Varambhia from Snutch Newsagents in Leicester, without even having to open it.

He has been a frequent correspondent over the years and we have spoken many times over the past few months about solutions for converting his tobacco gantry ready for the display ban. I was delighted to read about the new solution he has put in place, complete with artist’s impression of the work involved.

Retailers like Subhash write to RN because we have created a community for readers, because we help get things fixed and because you care – about your business and our industry. Sometimes, though, it’s because you just don’t accept poor service.

I have always enjoyed and admired how Menzies has personally engaged with retailers when responding to letters.

I was disappointed to hear, therefore, that Menzies bosses have asked its communications team to not engage with RN readers and instead follow Smiths News’ approach of “contacting retailers directly to discuss the matter”.

The letters we receive are often indicative of wider problems experienced by other retailers who deserve answers

The wholesaler recently carried out an audit of RN’s letters page and counted 33 letters about its service to six about Smiths News over a 13-week period, which was attributed to answering retailers’ questions and complaints publicly.

What it’s missed, though, is that the letters we receive are often indicative of wider problems experienced by other retailers who also deserve answers. Very often there is a reasonable answer or solution, but this will be missed when no response is given.

What do you make of Menzies’ new strategy? Write in and let me know.