Back in July, I read with dismay that News UK had signed another long-term distribution agreement with Smiths News.

I believe this was a missed opportunity for a major publisher to demand more for their publications, their readers and newsagents. 

In other countries I’ve been told that traditional grocery wholesalers tender for news distribution contracts on a local basis, providing fierce competitions not just on price, but on service as well. 

As delivered wholesale and fresh produce become the norm in our industry, daily deliveries are sure to follow, providing a new and financially viable route to market for publishers.

Most importantly, delivered grocery wholesalers are well versed in making the most of their capacity, keeping vans full and splitting the overheads between a wide range of products rather than the burden falling on one particular category. Smiths and Menzies have been attempting this for years through delivering parcels to businesses and stores, but it’s never been quite enough.

I’m not certain this model will work in the UK, but as retailers and as an industry, we cannot accept the status quo that news wholesale decline is inevitable, unchangeable and irreversible. 

To do so is to accept a slow death. We need to provide alternative models and to provide the incentive for new parties to make these work

With the recent research by Retail Express revealing the scale of the issues in the supply chain, we’ve made the first step. The next step is for retailers, publishers, trade groups and the trade press to get together and build a solution.

Arif Ahmed,
Ahmed Newsagents,

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