Wholesaler Smiths News has opposed Egmont Publishing’s latest trial to deliver new editions of magazines exclusively to supermarkets.

Speaking at a Northern district council meeting this week, national president Mike Mitchelson said Smiths did not back the publisher’s decision, but had no choice in the matter. 

Smiths News is not happy about treating independent retailers as second-rate stores, but they are already in a contract with the publishers,” he said. “They have no choice but to play ball with this hare-brained scheme that will put retailer sales a month behind the supermarkets.”

The trial is taking place in Menzies’ Wakefield and Smiths News’ Newcastle depots, and will see October issues of Lego Star Wars and Toxic magazines delivered only to supermarkets, with any unsold copies made available to independents in November.

Meanwhile, councillors said they remained opposed to the move, pointing out that magazines that come to them second-hand could arrive damaged or missing cover gifts. 

Mosci’s Convenience Store in County Durham falls within the trial area and sells approximately £2,200-worth of affected titles per year.

Owner Jason Birks said: “We are affected because we sell those magazines, but what really worries me is that this will set a dangerous precedent if it goes national. What’s to stop other publishers from doing the same thing and cutting magazines from independents?” 

Colin Reed’s Reed Newsagents in Carlisle is also part of the trial area. He said: “Hopefully, it will fail and the idea won’t take – it will be very bad for newsagents if it does.”

Smith’s News was unable to provide a comment by the time RN went to press. 

Read more: Newsagents set to boycott Egmont’s Lego Star Wars and Toxic magazines