Home news delivery offers huge profit potential and the NFRN believes its new initiative, Store2Door, will improve service standards, encourage publisher investment and make the service easier for retailers to operate. Ed Chadwick reports

The NFRN has unveiled the concept that it says will lead the way to long-overdue changes to the way home news delivery (HND) operates.

Trials of its Store2Door initiative are now under way and the federation has underlined its backing for a category that has proved difficult for some retailers to manage but, for those who get it right, continues to grow and remains hugely profitable.

The aim is simple: grow the business on behalf of members and make it as easy as possible for them to operate.

NFRN Commercial trading director Russ Simper says: “The move to convenience has been necessary, but it has helped move the focus away from news.

“News is a skilled category to manage, but it offers huge rewards and we believe it has the capacity to grow.

“The typical HND customer is aged over 45 and that’s the fastest growing part of the population, so it is unforgivable that HND is in decline.”

The missed opportunity is part of the reason that the NFRN is keen to address shortcomings, but it is also allied to the changing market.

Where there were once tens of thousands of HND operators with five or so rounds, there are now an estimated 9,000 with an average of 20 rounds.

Inevitably, that has left some “black holes” where there is little or no coverage for potential customers.

The NFRN recognises that there is a need for wholesalers to improve their service to HND retailers and says it is leading the way on discussions with the supply chain.

“Store2Door will bring a platform of guaranteed service excellence through an accreditation scheme which reflects the commitment of each retailer,” says Mr Simper.

“In return, they will be able to operate under the banner of a national brand which we are confident will become as recognisable as a chemist’s green cross.