Reach plc has been accused of treating retailers with “disdain” after its latest round of price rises were matched with margin decreases. 

The new round of increases applies to all editions of the Express – up to 65p from Monday to Friday, and to £1 and £1.60 respectively on Saturday and Sunday – and weekends on the Star (up to 70p and £1.10). 

NFRN national president Mike Mitchelson said: “By again choosing to cut the retailer’s percentage terms – this time down to as little as 20.5% – Reach has landed yet another body blow on its supply chain partners.

“The NFRN is left with no choice but to equip its members with the necessary tools to enable them to evaluate the space and positioning that they give to these titles and focus on other products that give them a better return.”

Retailer John Parkinson, owner of Broadway Premier in Llandudno, told RN that he is concerned about the future. 

“I’m fearful this will happen more and more,” he said. 

“Margins as low as this make it less profitable to carry out home news delivery. 

“It’s getting to a point where I am having to think about ways I could make more money than selling newspapers.”

In a statement, Reach plc newspaper sales director John Howard said: “This was purely a commercial decision and we of course value the support retailers give our titles. 

“It’s a challenging market and sometimes we have to take tough trading decisions.”

In January, the Star and Saturday edition of the Mirror rose in price, but margins fell by 0.5% and 0.4%. Last year, price hikes were matched by margin cuts on the Star and Express. 

The NFRN has confirmed that it will hold a full debate to discuss what to do about decreasing margins at National Council this month.

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