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One of our customers who bought the last edition of the News of the World told me that he was buying it as a touch of nostalgia as the first job he had was with that newspaper. Of course even our increased supply of the title did not last long as customers bought them by them two or three at a go.
As a person who has been at the retail end of the newspaper industry for more than four decades I have found the events of the past week very traumatic. The news of the closure of the NoW is an event of seismic proportions and the aftershocks that will surely follow are going to be difficult to predict.
With an affluent customer base we only sell around 25 copies a week, but for others in our channel the loss of this key title will be much more damaging. Two questions for us all is where will these newspaper buyers go for their Sunday fix, or will they be lost? What should we do over the next week or two to minimise the impact? Not a simple task as the News of the World retained its readership due to it mix of news, celebrity, sport and not least its uncomplicated language.
I think that we need to be proactive in the face of this disaster and canvas the NoW delivery customers with what your Sunday newspaper offer is, doing nothing will lead to a greater loss of these customers than doing something.
At the moment it’s a case of more questions than answers. How does this loss of such a big title affect the economics of the distribution chain? Will the other publishers produce enough or too many of their papers over the next two or three weeks while they work out where the NoW readers are going to go? How negative will the effect of the loss be on retailers? The list goes on.
What I do know is that doing nothing is not an option even for us. Our weekly gross profit of the NoW has been just a £5, but it is the associated sales that I am more concern about. Having check the basket mix around a half of our NoW buyers also buy another paper so maybe the impact will not be too negative.
We will have to wait and see.
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