As symbol groups, franchises and retail groups continue to harness opportunities in convenience, it’s encouraging to see that newspapers and magazines are a part of this, despite the ongoing challenges they present.
My Local told me how it is working with magazine consultancy Fore to find the best way to tailor ranges to fit local demand, while the NFRN is now working with another consultancy, Lucid, to help independents manage their newspapers and magazines in Northern Ireland. Some symbol groups are also looking at how to strengthen sales in this category. Most notably, Spar’s news group is working closely with its member retailers and Fore to help it manage every aspect of its newspapers and magazines.
For some specialist newspaper and magazine retailers – like Mark Ansell of Liskeard News in Cornwall – who have long since invested and excelled in this market, this is a confirmation of their faith in the category. Other retailers, however, have voiced their concerns – if the multiples start going after a bigger share of a shrinking market, independents may have to start working a lot harder to remain competitive.
Bay Bashir, of Belvedere News told me that he believes retailers need to be part of something bigger if they want to move their business forward. From this and a few other conversations with retailers this week, I’m amazed to see at the resourceful ways store owners are already doing this, including setting up exclusive agreements with distributors, working closely with publishers and taking advantage of their promotions and signing up to news groups.