ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) and NFRN (the Federation of Independent Retailers) have raised concerns about the future of newspaper supply chains in a joint letter to the Minister of State for Media and Data, John Whittingdale MP.

Recently, newspaper publishers and wholesaler representatives called for a competition wavier to bring the industry together to discuss the future of the supply chain.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed many dynamics in the news industry, presenting an opportunity for how to adapt and think about the future of the media world.

The new ministerial body will be chaired by Mr Whittingdale and Minister for Safeguarding Victoria Atkins, aimed at giving greater protection to journalists will meet for the first time today.

The National Committee For The Safety of Journalists will bring together representatives from government, journalism, policing, prosecution services and the civil service to work in collaboration to make sure journalists are safe.

In the letter, ACS and NFRN outline several areas that need to be addressed in order for the newspaper supply chain to operate more efficiently and effectively.

Suggestions include carriage service charges (CSCs), requested delivery times, territorial protection and coupon redemption processes.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Our sector has made repeated attempts to engage with the industry in order to promote good practice at each stage of the supply chain for a number of years now.

“Sadly, convenience retailers are still contending with inefficiencies in the supply chain, such as late deliveries, which have a negative impact on their business and their ability to provide newspapers to their local customers.

“We are keen to facilitate constructive discussions to ensure that any measures introduced serve to benefit all parties of the supply chain and encourage a positive relationship between publishers, wholesalers and retailers.”

Federation of Independent Retailers’ (NFRN) National president Stuart Reddish said: “We stand ready to engage with publishers, wholesalers and the government to build a news supply chain that is fit for the challenges of 2020 and beyond.

“If the industry is to rise to that challenge then everything from the carriage service charge to absolute territorial protection and the handling of returns must be up for discussion.

“Only then will we be able to build a supply chain that works for everyone, including the customer waiting for his morning paper to be pushed through his letter box.”