Independent retailers have reacted with dismay after learning that the Daily and Sunday Telegraph cover prices are rising substantially from Monday (March 7), but that the ‘improved’ margin will not be paid to them until the beginning of September.
The publisher has also decided that from September the percentage terms that retailers receive for handling the publication on weekdays and Saturdays will be reduced to 20 per cent. The margin for handling the Sunday edition will be maintained at 20.5 per cent.
Responding to the news, the Fed National President Narinder Randhawa said: “While the cover price increases are welcome, we are disappointed that, once again, the Telegraph is hitting retailers in their pockets with yet another cut to our percentage trading terms.
“Despite repeated conversations with the Telegraph, we are equally dismayed that any ‘improvements’ to our margin payments are being delayed for six months.”
Mr Randhawa added: “Only last month, and at the Fed’s newspaper summit in London, we listened as the Telegraph’s COO Chris Taylor insisted that the printed word had a bright future as he updated retailers, news wholesaler and his publishing colleagues on its subscription strategy and the importance of our support in achieving that.
“This latest decision to accompany these price increases with a cut in our terms and deferred payment is a bitter blow – especially as they come at a time when our costs are rocketing, and we have no way of passing these increased costs on to our customers.
“This annual cycle of terms cuts and deferred payment needs to stop. It leaves a sour taste in retailers’ mouths. We would politely ask Telegraph Media Group to reconsider on both the terms and deferred payment fronts.”
Mr Randhawa continued: “Decisions like these leave me to question my commitment to the news category. It is time that publishers like TMG understand the precarious financial position that moves such as these make to our members. It is also time that the Telegraph looks to other categories in our members’ stores that work with us in true partnership.”
The Fed head of news Brian Murphy said: “While many members do support the Telegraph’s subscriptions first strategy, they still have a number of customers who prefer to purchase their newspaper in the more traditional manner. It is unfair to expect these retailers to wait six months to be rewarded for this.”
From Monday, in England, Scotland and Wales the weekday cover price will rise by 30p to £2.80; the Saturday newspaper is going up 50p to £3.50p and the cost of the Sunday Telegraph will be £2.50.
In Northern Ireland, weekday editions will cost £3, the Saturday edition is rising a whopping 80p to £3.80 and the Sunday Telegraph will cost £2.70.
In the Republic of Ireland, the cost of both weekday and Saturday editions are rising but the cover price of the Sunday Telegraph will remain at €3. The new Monday to Friday price will be €3.20, while the Saturday edition is increasing to €4.