Experts and store owners have criticised the delivery fee paid to them by home news delivery (HND) service DeliverMyNewspaper (DMN), following reports of financial losses. 

Stores that accept vouchers from customers through DMN receive a maximum delivery cost reimbursement of £2.09 each week. However, PaperRound director John Harris told betterRetailing that 30 retailers had claimed the fee does not cover their charges, and that an average weekly delivery charge in the UK is £2.25.

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Data seen by betterRetailing indicated a boost in HND deliveries in March during lockdown, with the number of delivery drops per shop per day rising from 216 in February to 222.

Retailer Valerie Chung, of Broomes in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, said she had been forced to stop running the service due to the strain placed by the vouchers. “We’ve been told they have to keep [the payment] a standard rate for the whole of the country, but our delivery charge is £4, so if we take part we’re going to lose out,” she said.

“In my experience, people use these services for six weeks, and then disappear. Once this lockdown is over, customers are going to go back to old habits.”

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Hetal Patel, of HRDV News in Maidenhead, Berkshire, also expressed frustration with the scheme. “I get customers who have found out about HND through papers like the Telegraph, Guardian and Times, and they give me vouchers they can redeem, but we don’t get enough money to cover them,” he said. 

“The money we do get goes directly to the deliverers, but we end up losing money with every customer.”

Some store owners told betterRetailing they were having to explain to customers that there would be an additional charge in order to bring the DMN reimbursement up to their own weekly charges. “It’s frustrating for customers because what they are being promised by the publishers wasn’t agreed with their retail partners first,” one claimed.

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A spokesperson for DeliverMyNewspaper responded: “The newspaper industry has invested over £6m in the generation and fulfilment of new orders. All of our retail partners, alongside us, are investing in customer acquisition and the long-term benefits that an HND customer will deliver. HND is an important opportunity for retailers to reach isolated customers at this time.

“While we accept and understand that delivery charges and costs vary across the trade, any balance of delivery service payment should be viewed by the retailer as a modest investment in the new customer, and should be balanced against the lifetime value of the customer.”

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