Newspapers in rack

Independent retailers are calling on publishers and wholesalers to be more flexible with weekday newspaper allocations as more commuters return to work.

This month has seen a rise in the number of people returning to their offices, largely driven by new flexible working policies.

Stores located near transport hubs, including train and tube stations in major cities, have reported a boost in newspaper sales in recent weeks.

Those in office developments have also noticed a small increase.

Adrian Cooke, owner of Hockley Station Kiosk in Essex, told betterRetailing: “We’ve noticed that things are starting to pick up again, and it’s looking positive.”

NFRN calls for solution to newspaper delivery issues

However, he stressed the fluctuating number of people coming into his store on different days makes it difficult to get order allocations correct.

“It’s not going to be the same as it was before,” said Cooke. “People might be going in one week, then working one week at home, or it might be two or three days in the office and two at home.

“We want to welcome people back and make it easy to buy newspapers, but this is where the allocation system could end up letting us down.

“Publishers should allow us to get a bit extra – they need to be flexible, until at least everything settles down.”

Peter Wagg, from News on the Wharf in Canary Wharf, London, added: “If someone asks for 10 extra copies of a newspaper, publishers need to make sure they get them, and not let computer algorithms decide.”

News UK and NFRN deal aims for £5k sales boost

The NFRN confirmed it is meeting with publishers and wholesalers to discuss the issue.

National president Stuart Reddish said: “We understand how difficult it is, and we don’t expect them to produce a lot more copies willy-nilly, but if the potential is there and the budgets are there, then it’s worth looking at.”

Head of supply chain at the Guardian Roger Clapham told betterRetailing: “I’m sure publishers will certainly support retailers on this, and wholesalers will be asked to speculate copies in travel or commuter hotspots as per these two examples.

“Such a move potentially means greater sales, which benefits all parties.”

Read more news and articles about the newspaper and magazines category and click here for the latest ABC circulation figures