Retailers in Portsmouth have again called on Menzies to improve its service as late deliveries continue to plague independent stores.

One retailer told Retail Newsagent he was having to choose between shutting up shop, taking on staff to cover him while he went on rounds, or just not delivering newspapers at all.

“My paper boys and girls can’t wait a long time because they need to go to school,” said Dilip Agrawal. “Some I had to do myself, some had to deliver more and some places I just couldn’t deliver to. We’re losing money.”

When his papers did arrive, he added, some bundles had been missing, forcing him to buy supplies from Sainsbury’s.  Mr Agrawal said he had received no supply at all on one day in August.

Menzies apologised, but said this latter incident was a “unique” issue. “A fatal accident occurred on the A3 in Petersfield, which created substantial impacts on traffic flow. As a result, a number of our packer/drivers faced major delays either in reaching the branch, or in returning from their standard pre-runs; this in turn delayed our distribution,” a spokesman said.