Retailers in Northern Ireland already reeling from Johnston Press’s margin cuts this month have been hit with further price rises and margin decreases.

The Belfast Telegraph has increased its price from 90p to £1, with retailers’ margin dropping from 20% to 18%.

NFRN head of news Brian Murphy said: “We’re meeting the Belfast Telegraph next week and we’ll be telling them in no uncertain terms they need to retain viable margins for retailers. Scores of retailers are delisting Johnston Press titles and all publishers should heed that.”

Eugene Diamond, of Diamond’s Newsagents in Ballymena, said: “The Belfast Telegraph used to be a newspaper that sold in its thousands but this is further sign of a downward spiral.

“My carriage charges are around £120 per week so this is another kicking. We’re getting beaten up left, right and centre.”

South of the border, Independent News Media title The Herald also announced this week it will close in two weeks.

Four papers under the Wexford Echo Limited banner, including the 115-year old Wexford Echo, are in liquidation, with a buyer urgently being sought.

Mr Murphy said: “No one wants to see titles go out of business, but if they can’t sell papers at the right price to give retailers what they need, they’re not viable.”

Meanwhile, two regional titles have bucked the recent trend in terms cuts by raising prices and maintaining margins.

The price of the Irish Times has gone up by 10p, but its 24.5% margin has been retained, while Johnston Press has increased the price of The Kincardine Observer from 95p to £1.05 but maintained its margin at 24.5%.