Egmont sparks retailer fury over trial results
The controversial plans see independent retailers lagging behind their competitors by at least one edition
Retailers have hit back at Egmont after it broke its promise to reveal the results of its two-tier magazine trial before the end of summer.
The children’s publisher first announced the scheme, consented to by Smiths News and Menzies Distribution, last September, affecting stores supplied by Smiths News’ Newcastle and Menzies’ Wakefield depots.
It was revealed that supermarkets would be given exclusive initial access to Lego Star Wars and Toxic titles, with unsold copies given to independents four-to-six weeks later.
Despite the NFRN successfully lobbying the removal of Lego Star Wars, Go Girl was later added to the trial.
Magazine specialist Peter Wagg, who runs News on the Wharf in east London, told betterRetailing the distributor made no reference to the trial at a recent meeting he attended.
“Publishers are looking to press an advantage without really understanding the consequences,” he said. “Egmont has gone to the bother of a trial, so I would expect to see some results, however there was no mention of it in a recent meeting at which the distributor was present,” he said.
Quizzed by betterRetailing at a presentation in March, Egmont said it would share its first set of findings “in the summer”.
At the same time, the company’s commercial director for magazines, Siobhan Galvin, refused to comment on the impact of the scheme on independent retailers.
However, when betterRetailing contacted the publisher last week to ask where the results were, it failed to answer.
The plans had come under fire from the NFRN and independents, with all objecting to the strategy, which causes independent retailers to be at least one edition behind their competitors.
NFRN head of newspapers and magazines Brian Murphy said: “We have not heard anything. The last I heard, one of the two wholesalers stated that they had no idea either. I think we should therefore assume it has failed and normal business will resume. Should it go ahead, there will be legal ramifications.
“This is a strategy based on discrimination, but Seymour should confirm its position.”
Wagg added: “I am a specialist magazine newsagent, not a second-rate one, and if they don’t provide me with copies with the supermarkets, then I will delist them. I cannot accept it, and will not accept it.”
This article doesn't have any comments yet, be the first!
Register to comment and get exclusive content and subscribe to the online and print versions of Retail News.Become a member