The number of missed cut-off times by publishers into wholesale has spiked in 2015, despite assurances by the supply chain that it would make re-runs a priority.

Late inbound deliveries were up 31.06% in the first three months, compared to 2014, according to data from the National Distribution Monitor. This comes after a 22.7% overall drop in missed cut-offs of in 2014.

NFRN news operations manager Jerry Hayes said the Press Distribution Forum should look to hold an emergency meeting to identify underlying issues.

“The newspaper decision makers need to wake up and realise the material damage late delivered newspapers continues to have on sales,” he said.

But publishers told RN that late deliveries were already a priority and that data was easily skewed by one-off events.

John Howard, newspaper sales director for Trinity Mirror, said a major press fault had “distorted” March results for the Mirror. The paper had the second highest number of missed cut-offs that month, 74, behind the Daily Mail with 91.

Mr Howard said: “Our work is relentless in terms of explaining to the organisation the importance of timely arrivals. We publish newspapers on all but one day of the year and we aim to arrive ahead of schedule on each one of them.”

We publish newspapers on all but one day of the year and we aim to arrive ahead of schedule on each one of them

Chris Cadman, head of logistics at Mail Newspapers, said: “Although our figures do show an increase, some of these are second or even third loads we put in to try avoid lateness to retailers, which can show as a negative performance when you look at the headline figures.”

A Guardian News & Media spokesman added that late deliveries on the Guardian were decreasing, while head of circulation at The Independent John Simmonds said editorial teams were made aware of the impact lateness could have.

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