Menzies has announced a new carriage charge which will see stores pay up to £72.54 for supplying newspapers and magazines for seven-days.
Set to be introduced from 2 April, analysis by Better Retailing revealed the move represents a 4.7% year-on-year increase. The Fed’s national president, Jason Birks has described them as being a “rip-off”.
“Yearly carriage charge increases blight our lives and threaten the future of small shops and their communities,” he said. “Over the past 10 years, carriage charges have gone up by a whopping 40 per cent yet the number of copies of newspapers and magazines that news wholesalers handle have fallen considerably.
“At best, this latest increase could give retailers another valid reason to look at the time, space and effort it takes to sells news compared to the profit it makes and to give bigger and better displays to other products that are more profitable and easier to manage.
“At worst, it could cause many Fed members to close their shops for good.”
Birks added: “News wholesalers and publishers trot out the old excuses of rising labour costs and increases to the CPI when they put up their charges or cover prices, but they need to realise that we are facing exactly those increases too.
“If the money that Menzies – and Smiths News for that matter – recouped from these charges was used to improve its service to retailers then the reason for carriage charges would be more comprehendible.
“But as we reported at our news summit last month, the service we get, particularly on Saturdays, is shambolic.
“The industry needs to get around the table again and quickly to find better ways for the supply chain to operate so publishers and wholesalers do not pile on more costs on hard-pressed retailers who can ill afford them.”
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