Archive for July, 2017

Open letter to Smiths News Mr Rob Drummond.

Dear Mr Drummond.

There comes a time in life when one has to put pen to paper, such time has surely arisen.

With reference to your private and confidential letter received a few days ago (Dear Webbs  (Leverington) ROU !! 217678)( relating to your proposed increase carriage charges, I make the following comments.

The first apathy paragraph is filled with total garbage, just hiding the real facts that Smith News are giving every excuse available to rob their Newsagent customers yet again with outrageous demands of increasing delivery charge by some £255 a year making the overall total near £3000 a year.

Your company had the audacity last year to introduce a so called NEW “Labour Charge” when the previous year you had promised no increases. It was too laughable for words, when has labour NOT been associated to delivery charge? I was under the impression that your vehicles were driven by human beings, apparently not, must have been robots!

The current situation is surely this, your company has been cutting its cloth for far too long, whereby the service to us customers is mostly unsatisfactory and in some cases sheer right appalling,  we have seen Smiths News introduce outside “foreign” contractors who are working in conditions that is not allowed in this country. They ride around in vehicles that are mostly “rust buckets” and breakdowns is the norm in many areas.

Introducing a increase delivery charge from November is totally out of order, we Newsagents cannot be expected to be subjected to a near £3000 a year charge, when in all fairness the service your Company currently provides fails miserably in most cases.

I am personally seeking legal advise, and if need be will be advising members of my other business HNDA ltd NOT to pay the proposed increase fees. I will keep you informed, but in the meantime I suggest you inform the powers to be, for if it means going down the same route as I did over Smiths News Christmas day charge then rest assure Brian Webb will go to the courts yet again.

Yours sincerely,

A very unhappy Newsagent.

Brian Webb.


STOP “licking” Publishers / Wholesalers backsides!

Over the past three weeks the News Trade Industry has emphasized most strongly that its continuing  its slippery slide of self destruction, with one Publisher deciding to increase the prices of 47 local titles and drastically cutting retailers terms without having the “balls” to be honest and upfront.

Johnson Press new Publishers of the I daily paper committed suicide with the local papers, because no newsagent in their right minds will support those titles, especially after JP had the gull to remark they were convinced the Newsagent will support them over these moves. The move emphasized most strongly that Johnson Press had decided to make this move, knowing these titles were already for the scrap heap, and with this move they could blame us Newsagents for not supporting them. They can stick their 10% where the sun doesn’t shine!

Then everyone was cock a hoop  with News UK putting the Sunday Sun up 10p with 21.0% pro rata terms, that’s all very well and appreciated, BUT, some people have short memories so lets not forget the terms they had previously taken away from us!  It’s all very well increasing prices, and yes they are giving these new “fivers” away to try and increase sales, but increasing prices is fine providing the paper remains value for money and at £1.10p some customers will have second thoughts especially with the pagination being reduced by four pages!

Then we have the Daily Mirror trying to shoot themselves in the foot by producing weekend papers which are definitely not worth £1.10 and £1.50 on a Sunday, little wonder they were offering the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People for £2 last week using the voucher in the Saturday paper to save a pound.  Why the Mirror bosses didn’t get involved with the HND newsagents by producing a leaflet prior to any weekend, one will never know, it would certainly sell more newspapers, but then again, that’s why the Industry is in the position it’s in, because working together is not on the agenda with most publishers!

The weekly Trade rag Retail Newsagent this week had a two page spread on Newspapers this week, with the headline “Lets turn over a new leaf”, what retailers should do, what Publishers and Retailers should do together, and what Publishers and Retailers should do individually!

That’s all very well, but its not rocket science what the problem has been and still remains after all these years. It was steering everyone in the face some three weeks ago when a HND Newsagent reported in RN that he had been receiving his supplies by 3am each morning, and in the last 12 months he had over 500 new customers! EASY!

The problems remain with our dear Publishers and Wholesalers producing a delivery service that will benefit everyone within the Industry, we Newsagents have been falling over backwards to work with Publishers and the two wholesalers, but all the time we constantly get stabbed in the back.

News UK boss states that 44.% of news is sold by 11am, this guy needs some help, or is his figures based on a few selected shops? HND is still and will remain so the biggest selling point for Publishers, even more so when Publishers and wholesalers finally get their acts together with early morning delivery on a regular basis.

Smiths News have been criticized over the past years for operating their deliveries with contactors who employ under paid foreign staff driving around in old rust bucket vehicles that leads to problems of breakdowns. Last week three of these vehicles broke down, and then the Contractor walked away leaving the Peterborough branch in a right old mess, which left Smiths high and dry, with no drivers or vehicles. Oh happy days!!