Retailers have called on publishers to take more action against the increase in carriage charges amid fears over the diminishing profitability of news selling.
The issue was debated by the NFRN's South West district at a council meeting last week, after Smiths News announced a 2.1% increase in its carriage charges, due to take effect on 2 September. Ray Monelle, from Everyday Orchard News in Weston-Super-Mare, said publishers need to be more concerned by the increase.
“We have spoken to them in the past and it is clear they are worried about the news industry, but I don’t get the sense they are as concerned about delivery charges as they should be,” he said. “Since the announcement, we have already had three newsagents give up selling news altogether. We need to lobby and meet publishers as much as possible.”
District president Derek Cook said news sellers also needed to lobby harder against the rises. “Discussions should come from grassroots newsagents or roundsmen, because without these people there wouldn’t be a news industry,” he said.
However, he added this is difficult given the decreasing number of news outlets. He said: "There are still lots of people reading news, but it’s costing retailers more and more to put it on their shelves.
“As a result, newsagents are looking at the square footage of their shops and thinking they can’t afford to display news anymore. There is a fear that soon there will be less news outlets out there.”
The NFRN met with Smiths News to argue members should automatically receive compensation for the failing service. The wholesaler agreed to take the proposal away for consideration.
Mr Monelle also confirmed the NFRN is in discussions with the CMA.
Read more: Smiths News announces increase to carriage charges