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A group of 28 elite home delivery agents is promising the trade it can stem sales declines and offer a service in every part of the UK – in return for enhanced margins.

The independent consortium is led by Kent-based roundsmen Guy Day and Neill Cox and its members currently serve 40,000 homes every day. It includes Reading-based Brighton’s, Garners News of Eastbourne and Pipers of Hailsham.

The pair are aiming for nationwide coverage which they say would allow customers to place an order through any shop in the UK – regardless of whether they offer HND or not – which would then be fulfilled by the nearest member.

But as the NFRN prepared to unveil its own Store2Door concept at national council this week, the federation insisted it was leading the way on home deliveries.

NFRN trading director Russ Simper told RN: “We are already working with publishers on a new model, which will be for the benefit of all members and help newspaper sales across the industry.”

The Proactive HND Group is the second recent attempt to form an alliance of leading roundsmen offering to invest in the service in return for better terms. It will also seek to get assurances over earlier delivery times from wholesalers.

It has members which it says will allow it to reach all of Kent, London, Berkshire, huge swathes of Sussex and Wiltshire and as far west as Gloucester.

Mr Day, who runs Jackie’s News in Tenterden, said: “If a new deal can be reached with the publishers, we will be looking to expand the coverage area across England. “By working with other like-minded companies we can offer publishers a 100% complete delivery area like they have never had before.”

Mr Day told RN there was no desire to compete with existing retailers or acquire rounds.

One publisher told RN:
“I would give them business we win, but at standard industry terms. If they went and got us new sales, the enhanced margin conversation would be credible.”