Retailers must use the Christmas period to proactively sell magazines and demonstrate they understand their customers and the category, a publishing expert has told RN.   

Richard Lamb, chairman at Lucid Group, which provides support for a number of groups including Costcutter, Bestway and Londis, said: “In terms of volume, Christmas is a key period, especially for TV listings magazines. 

“Independents have a great opportunity to show that if they sell correctly and shift volume, it will increase confidence.” 

The comments come as retailers prepare for a crucial selling period, saying they fear multiples are being prioritised in the category. 

Paul Bridgewater, of the Cabin Newsagent on the Isle of Wight, said he lost out on sales last year as his local supermarket sold the Radio Times before he received his allocation. “Once upon a time, a release date was universal, but it seems as if a two-tier system has emerged,” he said. 

However, Lamb said although multiples guarantee sales, publishers and distributors are committed to working with independents, given they are targeting customers with the right range. 

“Whether a retailer has one metre or 12 metres of space, it has to be ranged just as well as a retailer’s chiller is, for example, by front-facing bestsellers,” he said.  

Radio Times said it is committed to helping independents and added delivery is based on postcode, rather than prioritisation. “Last year, Radio Times generated more than £6m in sales. This is worth 47.5% of the total Christmas television listings market,” said publishing director Oswin Grady. 

The publisher is supplying 1,000 point-of-sale units plus 1,500 Radio Times shelf-talkers to 1,500 of the top independents via its Superleague brochure.

Gavin Hyde, Frontline newstrade marketing manager, which distributes TV Choice and Total TV Guide, said: “Both titles are great value for money this Christmas. To maximise sales, ensure you display the Christmas double issue immediately upon receipt.”

Smiths News estimates television titles generate more than £18m sales during December.