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Independent retailers served by E M Menzies in Ireland have reacted with dismay after learning that the news wholesaler is increasing its carriage charge by 3.5 per cent from April 4.

The rise is seen as a bitter blow for retailers already struggling to contend with the minimum wage increase in January and other soaring costs, including energy bills.

The Fed’s Ireland president Martin Mulligan condemned the move by Menzies Distribution, saying: “It’s the same old story. I pay carriage charges under duress and there is absolutely no justification for putting these charges onto the retailer.

“Any increase should go on the cover prices, or else remove the cover prices altogether and let us recoup our charges by setting our own prices. We are here to make money for ourselves as retailers, not for other people.”

Newsagent Tom McDermott, whose Londis store is in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, is equally angry with the increase from Menzies.

He said: “To say I’m not happy with this would be an understatement.

“We are lambs to the slaughter – we have no say whatsoever. We protest every year but they just keep increasing and increasing.

“I feel like I am working for Menzies, not for myself.”

The Fed warned that this latest increase could push more independent retailers into dropping the news category completely, in favour of products that offer enhanced margins and that demand less time and effort being spent on them.

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