The NFRN says that independent retailers have been left reeling after regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press announced it was slashing the retail margin on 41 of its titles to as little as 10 per cent.

The margin cuts take effect from June 26 when the cover prices of the affected titles rise by between 10p and 20p.

NFRN National President Linda Sood said she was “absolutely livid” at the move.

“I’m shell-shocked,” said Sood. “Johnston Press has displayed complete contempt for hard pressed and hardworking independent retailers who are responsible for such a large percentage of their regional newspaper sales.

“This move is a travesty, made even worse by the fact that there has been no prior consultation.”

NFRN Head of News Brian Murphy said he was equally appalled and had summoned Johnston Press’ Group Publishing Director Richard Thomson to the NFRN’s head office in London to explain the publisher’s action.

Murphy said: “Raising the cover prices by as much as 20p while cutting the retailers’ margin to between 10 per cent and 13 per cent is misguided, unprecedented and downright disgraceful.

“We want some urgent answers from Mr Thomson, not least as to whether independent retailers are the only ones to see such vicious cuts to their margins or whether larger news retailers are having their trading terms hacked too.”

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