Retailer margins must be protected and delivery times improved under Trinity Mirror’s takeover of the Daily Express and Star newspapers, the NFRN has warned.

Trinity Mirror’s £126.7m deal to buy Northern & Shell’s print assets will bring the Daily Express, Daily Star and their Sunday editions, as well as celebrity magazines OK!, New! and Star, under Trinity Mirror ownership.

But NFRN head of news Brian Murphy said retailers need assurances that moves to cut costs would not affect the newspaper supply chain and increase bunching of titles in depots when wholesalers are already struggling with late deliveries. 

“There is concern about the consolidation of power in what is basically an unregulated supply chain,” he said. 

“If you’ve got one business trying to deal with the delivery of more titles, that could make it even worse.”

Mr Murphy also called on Trinity Mirror to resist adopting a “worst-in-class strategy” on retailer margins with its newly-expanded newspaper portfolio, as Express and Star weekday margins are currently 24.2% compared to the Mirror’s 21.4%. 

Trinity Mirror said the takeover of the titles will keep prices competitive by pooling journalism resources and increasing production efficiencies.