The NFRN today (Thursday March 29) said its fears for the treatment of news retailers in the wake of Trinity Mirror’s takeover of Express Newspapers had come true after cover price increases announced for both the Daily Express and Daily Star were accompanied by a cut in retail margin.
Previously, retailers have enjoyed preferential terms of 24.2 per cent on both the Express and Star titles but when the new prices take effect from Monday (April 2) they are being slashed to 22.5 per cent for weekday publications and 21 per cent on the weekend newspapers.
From next week, the new price of Monday to Friday copies of the Daily Express will cost 5p more, at 60p. The Saturday Express will cost 90p and the Sunday edition rises to £1.50.
Meanwhile, Monday to Friday editions of the Daily Star increase by 10p to 40p. Saturday editions will cost 50p and the Daily Star Sunday rises in price from 90p to £1.
National President Linda Sood said: “This is a bitter blow. While we feared that the takeover by Trinity Mirror could result in a change in the margin paid to retailers, quite frankly we expected better from the Express than to see its publications simply following the herd and not even consulting with the NFRN ahead of such a miserly move.
“I wonder if the wholesalers were aware and whether they made any representation on behalf of their retail customers or simply rolled over once again?
“This move takes effect at a time when independent retailers have higher wages to pay and bigger payments to make towards staff pensions so the contribution from higher cover prices would have been welcomed. Instead, the lion’s share will line the already bulging pockets of the publisher.”
NFRN news operations committee chairman John Parkinson added: “This move will push both titles down the road to ruin. I do not, for one moment, believe that the money that comes from this rises will be reinvested in the product and with their lower circulations the position of these titles on newsstands will come under further threat.”
Mr Parkinson said that in the wake of the Prime Minister’s new review into the future sustainability of national and local newspapers, the NFRN would be writing to the inquiry chair Dame Frances Cairncross.
“It’s important the review panel is aware of this move and this provides further ammunition – as if any was needed – for the inquiry to be widened so it encompasses the whole of the supply chain,” Mr Parkinson continued.
“We will also be making the newspaper’s management aware that it is imperative that they listen to our membership before it’s too late.”
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