Smaller magazine tote boxes announced by Smiths

Smiths News has agreed to freeze its carriage charges for 12 months, following pressure from the NFRN.

Retailers could save as much as £96 this year on their news bill, as a result of the move.

Under the present carriage charge structure, Smiths customers pay a minimum of £36.22 for a weekly supply of newspapers and magazines. The maximum charge is £61.45.

Previous carriage charge reviews have resulted in average of around 3% each year.

NFRN national president, Stuart Reddish said: “In such uncertain times for independent retailers, this announcement of a freeze on carriage charges for at least a year is very welcome.

This move is also indicative of the strong working relationship that the NFRN enjoys with Smiths News.  For some time, I have been discussing the financial difficulties that members have suffered from the coronavirus pandemic with Smiths News CEO Jon Bunting and it is clear that the news wholesaler has not only listened to our concerns, but is now acting on them, by suspending any review of the charges for at least a year.

“We are delighted that Smiths News is displaying such strong support for its retail customers during times of such hardship.”

The news wholesaler first took similar action in 2015, when it gave its retail customers the option of freezing their carriage charges for two years.

Smiths News CEO, Jon Bunting added: “We are incredibly mindful of the efforts our customers have gone to during the pandemic to ensure newspapers and magazines were available for their customers. Many are still under considerable pressure with lockdown.

“In speaking to the NFRN and others in the industry I am regularly reminded that many have gone above and beyond for their communities in the last year. In making this announcement we are hopeful that the NFRN and all our customers will see this as a positive move that provides some support to newspaper and magazine retailing after such a difficult period.”

The NFRN has pledged to now call on Menzies to follow suit.