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    Indie retailers welcome new News UK distribution plan

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    A shake-up in the distribution of the Sun, Times and Sunday Times has been welcomed by independent retailers.

    News UK announced today (17) that its Direct to Retail service, which supplies nearly 6,000 news retailers within the M25, was ceasing. From Nov 13, supplies of the Sun, Times and Sunday Times will be handled by Smiths News and Menzies Distribution.

    News UK said the move was aimed at “further bolstering the retail sector, while ensuring the widespread availability of newspapers in various outlets.”

    The publisher added that eliminating the delivery charge associated with DTR would result in a £3 million saving to the retail category.

    Responding to the news, the Fed’s National President Muntazir Dipoti said, “Retailers were unhappy when News UK introduced its DTR operation in 2008 as it was deemed unnecessary and an additional cost burden on retailers.

    “Fifteen years later, against a backdrop of consistent declines in both sales and retailers’ profitability, it is costing members £2.34 per day to receive their supplies of News UK titles. 

    “Having pushed for a change in News UK’s distribution arrangements in the capital and in the southeast for years, we welcome this move, which will save members both time – with less paperwork – and money.”

    “At the Fed’s Annual Conference in June, I was clear on my commitment to the news category.  Like HND Month, this move by News UK is another example of how a closer working relationship with our news trade partners can benefit Federation members,” Dipoti added.

    The Fed’s head of news Brian Murphy described the announcement as “long overdue”.

    He added that he hoped Smiths News and Menzies Distribution would not adjust their carriage charges in light of the move.

    “The Fed would be extremely unhappy if the news wholesalers saw this as an opportunity to review their carriage charge templates and introduced additional costs onto our members particularly when sales levels clearly show there is no justification for this,” Murphy said.

    Fed news operations manager Pete Williamson added, ““We will be working closely with News UK and the two news wholesalers to ensure that current delivery times and service levels to members are, at least, maintained.”

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