The Big Issue is looking to continue developing its retail presence including in independents and is also looking for “other strategic ways” to partner with local shops.

Speaking to betterRetailing, Big Issue managing director of publishing and business development Russell Blackman said that trials of selling the magazine in stores would continue even following the return of its street sellers on 6 July.

The partnerships, which saw the charitable magazine sold through multiples such as Asda and WHSmith were designed to put money in the hands of its homeless vendors, even as lockdown blocked the title’s normal route to market.

Asked about its sales strategy, Blackman revealed: “Time will tell about consumer demand and footfall in town centres and the lack of commuters. Vendors are coming back but we’re going to continue to give customers the means to purchase through alternative routes.”

He said the return of street selling would be staggered, and that developing new models would mean vendors would continue to be paid, even in the event of local lockdowns. The title usually generates between £75,000 and £80,000 a week in essential income for its sellers.

 “The Big Issue exists for our vendors and we’ll never undermine sales from a vendor, but we will continue to work with retail and the supply chain,” he explained.

This work will include looking at building closer links with independent retailers. The managing director commented: “We’re looking to develop other strategic ways to partner with retailers and independents and we want to have active conversations about how we can help our vendors within the community.”

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