NFRN dismayed by Menzies Distribution rates rise

The UK federation of independent retailers (NFRN) have expressed ‘dismay’ at news wholesaler Menzies Distribution’s plans to raise its carriage charges from the 1st of April.

On Monday the NFRN released a statement that suggested there will be an average increase of 2.7% for NFRN members – 1.5% in Northern Ireland and 1.9% for the Republic of Ireland.

NFRN National President Linda Sood said: “On Tuesday February 20, our members made clear to MPs the financial burdens that ever increasing carriage charges and employment costs were piling onto their businesses, putting jobs and even shops at risk. Today (Monday) one of the only two main news wholesalers has confirmed that it is to pile on yet more pressure, increasing its delivery charges by nearly 3%. This news is unwelcome and disheartening.

“As our Independent Retail Report for 2018 makes clear the charges for receiving a supply from news wholesalers have increased by a whopping 25.85% over just seven years yet the service our members receive has deteriorated with a massive 87,819 complaints to our helpline service NFRN Connect in the same period.

“Over that time members have had to contend with rising employment costs, too. Yet Menzies conveniently ignores the difficult trading conditions that many news retailers find themselves in. Enforced carriage charges deny retailers a large slice of the margin they should receive from selling newspapers and magazines. That’s why the NFRN wants the whole system reviewed.”

NFRN head of news Brian Murphy added: “Carriage charges are outdated. If there is not a complete overhaul then we will step up our calls for a review into the whole news wholesale distribution network before it’s too late and thousands more news retailers become even more disenchanted with the category.”