Guardian criticised for following the herd and cutting terms
Independent retailers have criticised the Guardian for following the herd and accompanying cover price rises on its weekday and weekend newspaper titles with adjustments to their terms.
From Saturday 22nd April, Monday to Friday editions will rise by 30p to £2.80. Both the Saturday publication and Sunday’s The Observer will also increase by 30p and will both cost £3.80.
At the same time, the percentage margin that retailers receive for selling the newspapers will decrease to 21.5% on weekday editions, 21% on Saturdays and 23% on Sundays.
In a letter to retailers, the Guardian blamed the terms cut on ‘record’ increases to the cost of paper.
Now, the Fed’s National President Jason Birks has written to the Guardian’s chief financial and operating officer, Keith Underwood criticising the move.
Mr Birks warned: “Neither retailers nor their customers will take this news well.
“For retailers, this could mean reviewing the profitability of selling the Guardian against other product categories and for customers it could mean buying the paper on fewer days of the week.
“Given the low circulations of the Guardian and Observer, this is a risky strategy indeed, which is why I have written to Mr Underwood.
“The Guardian needs to be aware that while the Fed remains keen to actively promote print, not just to our many thousands of members but to readers too, retailers need to be rewarded properly to do so.”
The move by the Guardian comes a matter of weeks after the Daily Mail announced it was increasing the cover price of its weekday editions and cutting the percentage margin that retailers receive.
‘For retailers, this could mean reviewing the profitability of selling the Guardian against other product categories’
This news followed a previous introduction of enhanced payments for retailers supporting the Mail’s new subscription scheme. The scheme gives enhanced payments to home news delivery operators and means an end to paper vouchers.
From Monday 3rd April the Monday to Friday editions of the Daily Mail rose by 10p to £1, with the Mail saying that “market conditions have meant that we have had to reduce the percentage margin to 21.8%”.
Responding at the time, Jason Birks said Fed members were facing “considerable financial pressures too”.
“Besides facing the cost-of-living crisis, supply issues and sky-high energy bills, on 1st April our wage bills will be rising, and customers served by Menzies Distributions will see their carriage charges increase too.
“To give on one hand with its enhanced payments and then to take with the other, by cutting our terms, is a bitter blow.”