Comic publisher adds another title to multiples-first controversial trial
Photo: Facebook/Egmont Publishing UK

Comic publisher Egmont said it is substituting another title in a controversial trial opposed by independent retailers.

The move follows toy manufacturer Lego’s intervention to take its title Star Wars out from the trial which sees multiple retailers receiving their copies first with smaller stockists supplied with returns some four to six weeks later.

National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) accused Egmont of treating independent retailers with contempt.

“I cannot believe that Egmont is going down this route again. The publisher’s sheer arrogance astounds me,” said Mike Mitchelson, national president of NFRN.

“This latest move is nothing short of despicable. Egmont is treating independent retailers whose customers are loyal purchasers of its titles with huge contempt.”

Egmont started its trial in September with Lego Star Wars and pre teen title Toxic. However, Lego said last week that it secured a promise from Egmont and its distributor Seymour to make its title available for all retailers “without a differentiation in delivery timing.”

“Justifying its actions, Egmont says it has the full support of its partners but as we discovered last week that certainly wasn’t the case with Lego who thanked the NFRN for bringing the issue to their attention and took steps to ensure that all retailers, regardless of size, could order and receive their titles at the same time,” Mitchelson noted.

NFRN said they are due to meet with executives from Seymour Distribution next week and will push for an urgent meeting with Egmont.

“When the trial was first announced I vowed to leave no stone unturned to get it halted and NFRN members can rest assured we will continue to fight against this unwelcome and unacceptable two tier system,” Mitchelson said.

Mitchelson added that he was disappointed that despite protestations from affected customers and lobbying from the NFRN, neither Smiths News nor Menzies Distribution had listened to common sense and called a halt to the trial.