Print titles stocked in fewer locations now than in 2017

The number of magazines achieving widespread distribution in the independent sector is falling amid pressure from rival categories.

Research from Better Retailing shows the majority of print titles are stocked in fewer locations than in 2017, with Barbie and Blaze in particular experiencing a significant fall in stockists.

Extrapolation of data from Smiths News suggests that, while in 2017, 21 print titles were stocked in more than 13,316 stores, in 2018, just 20 print titles were stocked in more than 10,356 stores.

Kate Clark, owner of Sean’s News in Upton-upon-Severn told Better Retailing: “I am monitoring our selection very closely, because you have to make every inch of space in the store count.”

“I have focused on selling specialised magazines and partworks. When customers can’t get certain titles, they come to me and that helps me retain business.”

According to IGD figures, the food-to-go sector in convenience stores and forecourts is expected to rise from £2.9bn to £3.8bn by 2024. An industry source suggested the category will fight for space with magazines and is likely to further hit the shelf space dedicated to magazines by independents.

Meanwhile, in the supermarkets, print titles are under threat from a range of categories, especially health and beauty, according to one expert, who highlighted Sainsbury’s doubling of its health and beauty ranging earlier this year.

However, Vince Malone, of Tenby Post Office, told Better Retailing the reduced competition from independents and multiples was an opportunity. 

“We are looking at taking advantage of a number of local stores cutting back their magazines section by taking the opportunity to increase the size of our range,” he said.

“All the local newsagents and shops have cut their print ranges back and nowhere locally has a comprehensive range anymore. There isn’t a browsing opportunity for customers and we can become that.”


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