Retailers praise wholesalers’ response to Extinction Rebellion

'At a time when your whole industry is being attacked, it’s amazing to see rivals clubbing together' said one retailer

Extinction Rebellion protest blockade News UK

Retailers have praised wholesalers for their role in reducing the disruption caused by Extinction Rebellion on 5 September.

Speaking to Better Retailing, independent retailers applauded the speed and clarity from Smiths News and Menzies, after climate protestors blocked News UK’s printers in Hertfordshire, Merseyside and North Lanarkshire, leaving more than one million copies missing from newsstands.

One newsagent explained: “I received a text [from Menzies] at 3.30am and was kept updated by everyone throughout the day. The way News UK have spoken up about news sellers and paperboys this week over the past six months in response to the pandemic has been really noticeable.”

Extinction Rebellion: damage to small shops ‘worth it’ to avoid ‘civilisational collapse’

Desmond Barr, from Sinclair Barr Newsagents, added: “Despite the anger and uncertainty experienced by many, it would be wrong not to acknowledge the huge effort put in by Menzies, Smiths and the publishers in trying to minimise the disruption caused.

“Credit must be given to Menzies for being focused and providing clear communication.” David Lomas, of Lomas News in Bury, added: “Thank you to our wholesaler, Smiths, for delivering. I can’t imagine what it was like in its warehouse.”

Gaurave Sood, from Neelam Post Office & Convenience, added that he appreciated rival publishers printing affected titles. “At a time when your whole industry is being attacked, it’s amazing to see rivals clubbing together,” he said.

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Smiths News commercial director Simon Gage told Better Retailing that he was proud of how the wholesaler responded. “We have good relationships with publishers and worked with them to put their continuity plans into action.

“We had people working through the night with print centres to coordinate inbound supplies from different locations and understand which locations we were going to be able to supply.”
A spokesperson for Menzies added that contingency plans were rolled out as soon as vehicles became blocked.

“Our primary trunking and final mile logistics operations were equally key to the mitigation of impact, with extensive efforts made by planning teams, drivers, and our branch and customer services teams,” they said.

Extinction Rebellion blocks News UK print sites: newsagents left with empty newsstands

“Contingency plans were implemented as vehicles became trapped in print centres, these included, but were not limited to, moving people and trucks around the country as print sites relocated and double running.

“Menzies Distribution is proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with our partners, customers and friends in the newstrade end-to-end supply chain, working tirelessly to minimise the severity of the impact.”

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