A week before Linda Sood, the NFRN National President launched the Federation’s Independent Retailer Report during a reception at the House of Commons, my daughter’s home was burgled.

Her phone call to let my wife and I know what had happened refreshed the memories of the burglary that we suffered in 2009.

Sadly, no one is immune from crime, but how the police react to a call for help from victims is different. The police arrived just 8 minutes after the intruders broke into my store nine years ago, but it took 2 hours for officers to respond to my daughter's 999 call.

A retailer who was at the reception told me that when they suffered an armed robbery last year, it took the police 4 hours to attend with little direct contact since the crime.

Retail crime is again rightly at the top of the NFRN’s agenda that they are bring to the attention of MP’s and Government with the launch of the Independent Retailer Report 2018.

A key message from the host of the reception, Martin Vickers MP was to encourage retailers to voice their concerns about policing with their Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable.

What do you do when the police don’t give you the service that you think you and your business needs?

Another area of concern that the NFRN raises in the report is Market Fairness. This covers ATMs, Business Rates, the News Industry, Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol and the Deposit Return Scheme. Martin Vickers told his audience that as MP for Cleethorpes he still had a local newspaper that is published daily, the Grimsby Telegraph.

Other local papers that serve his constituency have moved to once a week.

After Mr Vickers and Linda Sood had spoken about the challenges that retailers face with the way that newspapers are distributed, along with the falling standards and rising costs, I had a conversation with Kate Brown.

She operates a rounds business with her husband Martin in Leeds and they are increasing the number of newspapers they deliver.

As a retailer who has worked in stores that sold newspapers for my entire career, I wanted to understand why her business was bucking the trend. Four things were apparent for the Brown’s success:

  • Her passion for selling newspapers
  • Her business size means that every extra newspaper they sell delivers the full margin
  • She's close enough to their supplying wholesaler to easily reduce the impact of late deliveries and reruns
  • She also has the contact details of all the people in her supply chain who can make a difference.

What are you doing to sell more newspapers in your store?