As putting members first is at the heart of everything the NFRN does it is pleasing that in this edition of The Fed we are able to report two recent and big wins!

Our first success came with Camelot revealing that as part of a package of improvements to its suite of games it will now pay commission to retailers when players claim ‘match two number free Lotto lucky dip’ prizes. The NFRN has been the only trade organisation to campaign for this and it’s something that we have been pursuing for some considerable time. According to Camelot, the 10p payment on each ticket redeemed will add around £5 million a year to National Lottery retailers’ commission.

Round about the same time, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that to tackle Britain’s ‘throwaway culture’, all small shops will be made to charge the 5p plastic bag levy, subject to a public consultation. Again, this is a subject that has concentrated our minds for some years as it has always been puzzling that while fellow small shop owners in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales could charge, in England, retailers with fewer than 250 employees were exempted from the legislation. Of course, when the levy first came in many members decided to go ahead and charge to prevent customer confusion. Now, the extension to all small shops means independent retailers can look forward to playing an increasing role in reducing plastic waste while raising money for local charities.

What would have been nice is to have been able to bring some positive news from the news supply chain but, sadly, one publisher has decided to discriminate against independent retailers by trialling a hare-brained, two tier magazine system. Under Egmont’s plans, multiple retailers served by Smiths News Newcastle and Menzies Distribution in Wakefield will get exclusive access to each edition of Lego Star Wars and Toxic magazines and it is their unsolds that independent retailers will receive four to six weeks later. This is totally wrong, and it is ludicrous to create a two-tier system. Independent retailers do not deserve to be treated as second class.

Unsurprisingly, this trial was condemned at our September national council meeting. Not only are we challenging Egmont to rethink but we are making forceful representations to Seymour, the company that distributes the title; to the news wholesalers who agreed to the scheme; to the Press Distribution Forum; and to the Professional Publishers’ Association, too. As this move represents a major shift in the way that magazines could be distributed in future you can rest assured that we will not leave any stone unturned.

Mike Mitchelson
NFRN National President


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