Mark this morning lent his support to the ‘Save our Newsagents’ campaign after it was revealed that traditional newsagents are being forced to close at a rate of more than one every day.
Developments in the news distribution industry have left most newsagents with no choice over who supplies them. Shop owners fear that the lack of competition will leave them with no alternative supplier and vulnerable to increased costs. There are also valid concerns about the potential domination of supermarkets over smaller retailers and publishers. One of the great strengths of our newspaper and magazine industry has been the rapid distribution of material to all corners of Britain. Under existing distribution agreements, newspapers and magazines are sent to retailers through a system of exclusive territories. The arrangement encourages a free and diverse press.
Last week almost 800 newsagents delivered a petition to the Office of Fair Trading demanding urgent action to protect competition in the news distribution industry. Mark said, ‘I fear the curtailment of freedom of choice if our independent newsagents are lost. Whilst I do the majority of my shopping at my local supermarket, I always make a point of buying my paper from my newsagent as I want to support diversity in our press’.