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The newsagent is a high street institution and shops closing leave their communities poorer, it says. Desperate action is needed to arrest the decline, be it lower rates for community enterprises or something more serious. Newsagents are valuable, and it’s time we started treating them as such, it concludes.
I don’t believe 10 newsagents are going out of business every week, but there is no doubt that retailers are being squeezed from all sides and increasingly forced to rethink their offer.
Look at former NFRN national president Mahendra Jadeja, who this week converted his north London newsagent shop into a modern convenience store offering chilled food and wine.
And one of the sides doing the squeezing is the Guardian itself. Last year the title announced a reduction in weekday retail percentage margins at the same time as a drive to recruit direct to consumer delivery customers. It has since worked with the NFRN on a promotion to grow HND subscription sales with 700 members, as well as putting a stop to its direct to consumer canvassing.
Perhaps now is the time for the title famed for its fairness and social conscience to run a sustained campaign for the long-term future security of local shops.
A good starting point, and the ‘radical’ action it says is required, would be backing retailers’ calls for a full market investigation of the newstrade by the Competition Commission.