Smiths News will introduce 250,000 smaller magazine tote boxes to replace its existing collection from November, it has revealed to betterRetailing.

Smiths claims the reduced size will allow more totes to be transported on each truck, reducing the number of vehicles required, the regularity of late deliveries and weight-related retailer issues.

Birmingham depot manager Wayne Foster said: “The introduction of the smaller totes will improve efficiency within the packing operation by making it easier for all touchpoints to handle packed totes.

“Those benefits follow through to our delivery fleet and customers, with the smaller totes being easier to handle.”

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The boxes will be 264mm in height, rather than 320mm, which should limit unused space and reduce the weight of each box.

The maximum pack height will fall from 280mm to 240mm, and Smiths said the replacement totes will better prevent damage to magazines.

Smiths News CEO Jonathan Bunting said retailers concerns drove the change. “The replacement of our supply of totes is a significant investment by Smiths News that will give our customers a service that is better tailored to their needs,” he said.

The magazine tote boxes will also be easier to scan – leading to faster processing by wholesalers – and more water-resistant.

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Heavy tote boxes can cause issues for retailers, and Smiths said the maximum weight of the new totes is below the industry-agreed limit of 18kg.

David Poluck, of HV Kingsley in London, agreed that lighter totes would benefit retailers.

“The current boxes have been around for a long time and I imagine the new ones will be easier to handle,” he said.

“If boxes are full up, they can be heavy, and I can see how an older retailer would struggle to lift them and move them around.”

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