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The Telegraph has slashed retailer margins to well below its current 20.5%, sparking uproar from news sellers.

Monday-to-Friday editions in England, Wales and Scotland increased in price from £2.50 to £2.80 on 7 March, but the retailer margin fell from 20.5% to 18.3%.

On Saturdays, the cover price will jump by 50p to £3.50 while the retail margin decreases from 20.5% to 17.57%. Only Sunday-edition prices and margins remain unchanged.

For stores in Northern Ireland, the margin for weekday editions fell to 17.08%, while Saturday editions will drop to 16.18%.

On 5 September, the Telegraph will increase the margins on all affected titles to 20%, still half a percentage point below the margin at the beginning of 2022.

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The decision comes despite all seven other national newspapers that have increased their price since Christmas opting to protect retailer margins.

The decision also follows a meeting hosted at the Telegraph’s headquarters earlier in February, attended by all major wholesalers, publishers and the NFRN.

At the meeting, all attendees promised to work collaboratively to protect the future of newspapers. However, as of 3 March, just four days before the change was scheduled to come into effect, the Telegraph was still to inform most news sellers.

NFRN national president Narinder Randhawa said: “Last month, at the federation’s newspaper summit in London, we listened as the Telegraph’s chief executive, Chris Taylor, insisted that the printed word had a bright future as he updated retailers, news wholesalers and his publishing colleagues on its subscription strategy and the importance of our support in achieving that.

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“This latest decision to accompany these price increases with a cut in our terms and deferred payment is a bitter blow – especially as they come at a time when our costs are rocketing, and we have no way of passing these increased costs on to our customers.”

HND agent Brian Webb, of Webbs of Leverington in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, told betterRetailing: “It’s completely unacceptable and stores will just stop stocking it. As soon as the margin goes under 20%, it’s not worth touching.”

Asked about the increase, a Telegraph spokesperson told betterRetailing: “From Monday 7 March 2022, the cover price of The Daily Telegraph – Monday to Saturday – will be increasing.

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“For a six-month period we will be maintaining the current retail pence per copy sold and from 5 September, the retail pence per copy sold will increase by 9% on weekdays and 14% on Saturdays.

“With subscriptions accounting for the largest proportion of Telegraph’s sales, aligning with the annual renewal cycle of the business allows for continued investment in our journalism, subscriptions and supporting retailers.”

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