Connect Group has announced that, following competitive tender, it has successfully renewed its long term contract with News UK, confirming Smiths News’ current distribution territories within the United Kingdom through to July 2024. The contract secures revenues of c£200m p.a. (at current values).

News UK is the United Kingdom’s market leading national newspaper publisher with titles including The Sun, The Times and Sunday Times. This long term contract is an endorsement of Smiths News’ leading service offer and efficient route to market for both publishers and retailers.

Mark Cashmore, Chief Executive Officer of Connect Group commented: “We are delighted to confirm this significant publisher agreement for our newspaper and magazine distribution business.  Visibility of future revenues underpins the ability of Smiths News to continue to deliver strong profits and cash. The contract is good news for the supply chain as a whole and positions the Group well to secure a similar outcome with our other publisher partners.”

The NFRN acknowledges that securing long term distribution contracts for newspapers is a sensible approach.

However, we continue to have reservations about the imposition of dual carriage charges for retailers inside the M25 and we seek assurances that Smiths News and News UK will ensure that the necessary investment is made to improve the service to retailers, with more timely deliveries and better monitoring and response to performance shortfalls.

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