What has Egmont done?

 

Comic publisher Egmont has been accused of reducing independent news stockists to second class retailers after launching a pilot scheme that sees two of its titles supplied to supermarkets first.

 

show more

All retailers were due to receive copies of Lego Star Wars and pre teen title Toxic. But from the next edition, supermarkets and multiple retailers who are served out of Menzies in Wakefield and Smiths News in Newcastle will be exclusively supplied with copies of these two titles first. Independent retailers in those areas will only receive their supply four weeks later and the copies they receive will be ones that have not sold in the larger stores and have been returned.

This trial was condemned at the NFRN’s September national council meeting in Leicester.

Read the full press release at the end of this page.

show less

Direct Retail Discrimination trial to continue but outcry from the NFRN will lead to a formal review

11 October 2018

In meetings held this week with news wholesalers, the Press Distribution Forum and magazine distributor Frontline, the NFRN voiced its immense dissatisfaction that a trial by Egmont to put two of its publications – Lego Star Wars and Toxic –exclusively into multiple retailers has been allowed to continue. The NFRN went on to warn that unless this was properly reviewed and the views of all parties taken into consideration, then material damage could take place in the magazine category, especially if the trial was rolled out without correct considerations and measurements being in place.

Commenting, Mike Mitchelson, National President, said: “Unfortunately, this is being seen as a simple trial, and is not considered important, but the NFRN has placed this issue at the top of all meeting agendas and we have entered into frank and robust discussions with industry bodies. We have highlighted the failings of the supply chain to communicate with and to retailers, and asked for greater transparency and involvement to help sort the mess out.”

Stuart Reddish, NFRN National Vice President, added:  “There was an acceptance that this could have been dealt with much better, and that the NFRN needs to have a say in the measurements of the trial as well as being part of any review that takes place and in any decisions going forward.”

Brian Murphy, NFRN Head of News, commented: “It was of the upmost importance that  supply chain representatives heard our dissatisfaction on this matter and we will continue to highlight the issue and our concerns until a resolution is found.  To move forward, and at the earliest opportunity, we will be holding meetings with both Seymour, the company that distributes the two titles, and with publisher Egmont, and have not ruled out formal protests that will attract significant media attention.”

 

NEW – Take part in our updated Egmont Poll

 

Results from our first Egmont Poll

Do you agree that multiple retailers should get copies of Toxic and Lego Star Wars weeks before you?

Yes: 6%
No: 94%

 

War now declared on Egmont’s discrimination

21 September 2018

Despite attempts to get common sense to prevail, the news supply chain appears intent of continuing a trial that sees independent retailers receiving copies of Star Wars Lego and Toxic magazines some six weeks later than the multiples are supplied.

National President Mike Mitchelson said: “Our efforts to get the news wholesalers to see sense and stop this hare-brained idea has, unfortunately, fallen on deaf ears, but members can rest assured that we will not simply roll over and accept this and I urge all members to join me in venting their anger and to refuse to be treated as second class retailers.

“Since hearing of this move, we have tried in vain to engage – and maintain a civil and transparent working with the suppliers responsible – but we have been advised that the trial will carry on regardless and may take up to six months to conclude. We maintain that this is an ill-thought out scheme that has seen no communication to retailers or consumers and such a complete lack of transparency can only indicate that direct discrimination against the independent retail sector is being allowed to take place in the news supply chain regardless of the effect or consequences it could have.”

Brian Murphy, Head of News, commented: “So-called supply chain partners too regularly state that independents are a vital part of the supply chain but endorsing such a scheme, whereby products are only made available for sale after one group of retailers has already had those same titles for four to six weeks, is against all fair trading practices and this must be stopped. Members are reminded that they can invoke their right to only receive the titles that they want. Any refusal by your news wholesaler to allow you to do this is a breach of your terms and conditions of supply and must be reported to the NFRN so we can progress this further with our legal representatives and the competition authority.”

Mr Mitchelson continued: “I am mindful of the growing anger against Egmont and Seymour’s actions and know of many instances where members are refusing to handle these titles. I will continue to press Smiths News and Menzies Distribution on whether they have considered the longer term strategy of Egmont, and the effect that this could have on their businesses. What I will make abundantly clear to them is that the NFRN and independent retailers have had enough and that we will not rest until this trial is stopped.”

To share your thoughts with the NFRN please contact NFRN Connect on 0800 121 6376 or email connect@nfrn.org.uk

NFRN publishes UPDATED Q&A guidance on Egmont publishing trial

20 September 2018

The NFRN has published a new Q&A guidance document to help answer any questions you may have regarding the Egmont publishing trial.

 

 

What members are saying

Have your say by calling NFRN Connect on 0800 121 6376 (free from UK landline) or add a comment on our Facebook page.

 

Delisted all of their titles already, they don’t need independents apparently.

I personally will delist their titles. What would be the point in selling old second hand stock a month after it is released!

Second hand magazines will come damaged and look pre-handled.

If publishers are looking to kill off independent newsagents this is a great way to go about it. When I first read about it I thought it was a joke. I’m astonished that having had time to reflect that Egmont are still intend on pressing ahead with the trial.

This will drive custom to the supermarkets. If rolled out, this will damage my trade significantly.

Publishers need to understand just how valuable independent retailers are to the industry. Independents are in all corners of the country where multiples are not. The proposals are insulting and disgusting and create a feeling that independents are second class retailers.

It’s a sad day for the newspaper and magazine industry that this proposal was even given the light of day. Where will this end?

My shop is in a small village around eight miles away from a supermarket or multiple so my customers will either have to wait longer to get the two titles or, what particularly concerns me, will cut him out and get them will their are doing their weekly shop.

Industry Views

 

NFRN condemns Egmont for game changer that reduces independent news stockists to second class retailers

7 September 2018

Comic publisher Egmont has been accused of reducing independent news stockists to second class retailers after launching a pilot scheme that sees two of its titles supplied to supermarkets first.

This week, all retailers were due to receive copies of Lego Star Wars and pre teen title Toxic. But from the next edition, supermarkets and multiple retailers who are served out of Menzies in Wakefield and Smiths News in Newcastle will be exclusively supplied with copies of these two titles first. Independent retailers in those areas will only receive their supply four weeks later and the copies they receive will be ones that have not sold in the larger stores and have been returned.

This trial was condemned at the NFRN’s national council meeting in Leicester this week (September 4 and 5).

Addressing national councillors, NFRN National President Mike Mitchelson denounced the move as “hare-brained”, adding that it would reduce independent news stockists to “second class retailers”.

“Egmont and Seymour are looking at an experiment of putting copies into supermarkets exclusively and following the recall after four weeks distributing the returns to independent outlets.  This is wrong and ludicrous and we should not be treated as second class retailers”, Mr Mitchelson said.

Both Egmont and Seymour, who distribute the two titles, had been challenged by the NFRN and it would continue to make forceful representations to get the companies to think again, Mr Mitchelson continued.

Remonstrations would also be made to the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) and to the Press Distribution Forum (PDF) as the pilot represented a major shift in the way that magazines are distributed.

NFRN Head of News Brian Murphy added: “This is a real game changer. Egmont is actually discriminating against independent retailers and that is totally unacceptable.

“It could also have repercussions for consumers too as it’s a well known fact that many comics are bought by mums and their children at their local independent store. As a result of this trial, consumers could unwittingly, but easily, buy the same edition twice. The independent retailer will then be the one who has to refund them.

“I’m sure that the CMA will be interested to hear of our concerns, especially about the negative impact this will have on the consumer.”

Related content