Visit any town or high street and you will see that every independent store is different – in size, product offer and ambition. But when our industry looks at newstrade sales performance, it treats all independents the same: a huge mass with falling sales. Any publisher looking at these figures will naturally focus resource on the multiples’ growing market share.

Knowing that parts of the independent channel are in fact growing sales, distributor Marketforce recently carried out a project to understand the performance of the sector better. It split independents into three segments – small, medium and large magazine bills.

This dramatically changed the sales performance picture. As expected, ‘small news bill’ had the highest rate of decline. ‘Medium’ was more in line with a multiple group like Martin McColl. While ‘big news bill’ was actually growing market share at the same rate as WHSmith.

Marketforce visited a large group of these stores to find out how they are driving growth, and shared its findings with RN.

First, they are increasing their magazine range and shelf space. They are proactive and replenish and tidy the category. Those managing their allocation are outperforming the market by 6%.

Also driving growth is the use of promotional units (170% more money than average), displaying magazines at the counter (50% more) and having customers queue past the fixture (17% more).

We will be exploring these findings in more depth in the coming months, so watch this space.

While most factors driving growth involve potentially changing your store or the way you run it, one is much more simple. The best magazine retailers read RN and make 35% more money from the category than non-readers.