RN often hears of retailers saying that they have taken their eye off the ball on news and magazines as a result of the shift towards convenience.

Too frequently, they struggle to explain exactly why.

It’s a shame that so many former newsagents have been willing to neglect an entire category by slashing it to the top 100 titles – and it doesn’t have to be that way.

Last week, Amarjit Bhdaal told RN how news and mags were crucial to his Spar store. Not just a footfall driver for other categories, but a thriving and profitable line in their own right. Just because sales as a whole are declining, Amarjit is keen to grow them and plans secondary sitings to drive impulse.

I’ve recently been to visit Handley’s News in Cheshire, which was previously a traditional CTN, but has recently increased floor space and is trading as a Premier.

For second generation owner Ian Handley, a convenience offering isn’t a magic pill to solve all of his problems. He just wants to capitalise on the trend for more people shopping locally and his 300 HND customers very much come first.

One of the best examples of a company which is converting from the traditional CTN model to convenience without sacrificing news and mags is McColls. It now has more c-stores than newsagents for the first time but is working to increase its HND base.

It’s a crucial point of difference between independents and the new supermarket c-store formats, where mags are squeezed into two metres at most and newspapers are hidden on a plinth below.

Dash for ashes

AshesThe official guide to this year’s Ashes is on sale for eight weeks from 20 June, in a move from publisher Programme Master to excite cricket fans before the first ball is bowled on 10 July. Positioned as a 100-page collectable companion to the competition this summer, the guide will feature interviews with rival captains Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke, insight from celebrity cricket fans, a look back at Ashes history, player and coach interviews as well as full squad profiles. The one-shot, on sale until 15 August, is set to appeal to cricket fans who want to be up to date with news from the teams ahead of the six weeks of intense rivalry, says distributor Seymour.