The NFRN will take its concerns over carriage charge increases by both Menzies and EM News to parliament.

The two companies announced that as of April 8, retail customers under their jurisdictions will have to pay higher carriage charges for newspapers and magazines.

In a damning statement on the hikes, NFRN chief executive Paul Baxter said: “Retailers do not expect their supplies to be delivered for nothing, but if these continual increases are applied without greater thought and a commitment to remodel the supply chain operation, so it better suits today’s purposes, then it will all be too late.

“News is vying for the same space and often the same consumer spend, yet it continues to believe that monopolistic mindsets are still best.”

Eugene Diamond of Diamond’s in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, told Retail Express: “In Northern Ireland, we’re paying about £120 per-week for carriage, which is an awful lot, and some smaller stores aren’t even able to cover this through sales.”

He called for a more localised wholesale network, rather than the current “cartel-like system”.

Abdul Qadar of Ramzan & Sons in Edinburgh, added: “Menzies’ costs keep rising while its service stagnates, especially its website, which is dated and its call centre, which is expensive and often hard to get through to.”