News UK is to begin transforming thousands of independent shops across the country with Sun and Times fascias, canopies, blades and news fixtures as part of its biggest ever retail branding campaign.

The publisher is offering packages worth up to £3,000 to help boost category sales and revitalise the appearance of stores as part of its Retail+ programme.

News UK’s field team is currently supporting 10,000 indies on a regular call cycle – for whom sales are performing 5.1% better than the channel as a whole thanks to display and PoS – and all will be given the opportunityto benefit from new branding.

A guaranteed proportion of the stores earmarked for improvements will be NFRN members.

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Head of independents Lizzie Unsworth said: “We have worked with independents in the past, but what is radical here is the scale.

“The objective with Retail+ is to have a network of retailers who we can communicate with immediately and direct customers to them. The branding will create a visible high street hub which promotes the news category.

“There are 12 different options because we recognise that all stores are different and we will work with retailers to identify the most suitable.”

One retailer already in advanced stages of talks with News UK is Eugene Diamond, of Diamonds News in Ballymena, County Antrim.

“I have got about 20,000 cars passing my store every day, so I think to have a well-recognised brand above my door is very important,” he said.

“We used to get fantastic support from publishers and this is a sign that it is returning.”

NFRN news operations controller Brian Murphy said: “We welcome the investment and the opportunity for our members to receive strong branding and the chance to refresh the appearance of their store and increase footfall.”

NFRN members can register through the federation’s Helpline.

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