Wimbledon news retailer Tom Searle has suggested to retailers that they regain the Sunday Express margin that has been reduced in the wake of a recent price cut.
Mr Searle took the opportunity to make sure fellow retailers who were gathered in South London this Tuesday evening were aware that “Not only did [the Express] cut the price, it also cut your terms.”
The paper slashed their price from £1.35 to £1 in a bid to pick up former News of the World readers but have kept the 21.2% margin which means that retailer terms will be cut from 28.6p to 21.2p
Mr Searle went on to explain that he has decided to cross out the cover price with a marker, and place a price label for £1.10 on top. “That 10p is yours,” he said. “It’s not illegal. This has been checked out with trading standards. As long as you put a line through the original price.”
Reaction among retailers in attendance was mixed. While some agreed with Mr Searle’s remarks, others dismissed the idea as “absolute rubbish”, on the basis that customers will not understand or be interested by the issue of newspaper margins, and the idea of paying above the price on the masthead could drive away these regular customer forever.
“If I asked my customers to pay extra for a newspaper, they would just buy it in Asda and never come back to my shop” said one retailer.
For many publishers the hole left by the closure of the News of the World is a fantastic opportunity to gain more readers and it is yet to be seen if newspapers such as the Sunday Express can capitalise on the opportunity with lower prices. If you can convert former NoW readers to the Express then the lower margin could pay for itself.
Where do you stand on the debate? Will charging the Express’ previous cover price drive customers away, or will they be sympathetic? And what pressure should retailers be putting on the Express to make right the terms that have been taken from them.