Newsagents are to boycott Egmont’s Lego Star Wars and Toxic magazines over plans to ‘discriminate’ against independent stores.

Under the plans, consented to by Smiths News and Menzies Distribution, supermarkets will be given exclusive access to each edition. Their unsold copies will then be given to independents four-to-six weeks later. A trial is underway and affects stores supplied by Smiths News’ Newcastle and Menzies’ Wakefield depots. 

Ilesh Patel, from Camden News in London, told RN that retailers should refuse to stock Egmont’s titles. He said: “I have no interest in stocking magazines that are older than the current one. I will boycott those magazines – if other retailers do the same, good.

“Publishers are bowing to supermarkets to the detriment of the whole market,” he added. “They are killing their own industry and don’t even realise it.”

Jack Bhatt, from Universal Newsagent in Highbury Station in London, agreed: “I am not stocking those Egmont magazines. This has been going on for a while, with titles such as Hi-Fi Plus and the BBC Proms bookazine shunning independents.”

According to NFRN’s national president, Mike Mitchelson, the move creates an unacceptable two-tier system: “This is wrong and ludicrous, and we should not be treated as second-class citizens.”

NFRN head of news Brian Murphy added: “Egmont is discriminating against independent retailers. Consumers could buy the same edition twice – the retailer will then be the one who has to refund them.”

The trade body has challenged Egmont and distributor Seymour in an attempt to get the decision reversed.

In response, the publisher said: “Egmont would like to assure all magazine retailers that we are committed to growing our sales in all channels.”

NFRN warns of magazine distribution shift