Newsagents have expressed dismay at margin decreases amid a wave of new year newspaper price rises across six national titles.

While four titles maintained retailer margins, two chose to reduce the percentage share given to its retailers.

The daily i, The Sun and Saturday Sun each increased by 5p. The Guardian went up by 20p, while the Observer and the Saturday edition of the Guardian respectively rose by 20p and 30p. All maintained current retailer margins.

However, the Daily Star and the Saturday edition of the Daily Mirror also increased prices by 5p and 10p, but cut retailer margins by 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively.

The combined changes increase news seller margins by £75.9m a month, although the margin cuts at the two titles deprived retailers of an additional £4.2m margin boost.

A News UK spokesperson said their price rise will result in incremental revenue of £21m a year into retailers’ tills.

Despite the overall margin rise, retailers shared concerns about the long-lasting impact.

Jack Bhatt, of Universal Newsagents in London, said: “They just want to recoup some lost revenue, but they should realise that they are going to gradually lose sales. The margin cuts are not economically viable, especially for smaller retailers.”

Jason Birks, from Mosci Newsagents in Durham, added: “Retailers get a small increase due to the price going up, but you can’t keep reducing margins year after year. They say that a 0.4% drop here or there is insignificant for us, so why do it?”

NFRN’s head of news, Brian Murphy, said: “We are particularly disappointed as Reach had said it was business as usual, and this is clearly not the case. We are meeting them this week and will ask them to explain their action in respect of the Star and Mirror margin decreases.”

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