The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) has called for wholesale funding to come under urgent review as Smiths News announced an increase in its carriage charge template of 4.21%.
NFRN national president, Alan Smith, said: “Coming at a time of major reorganisation of depots, which the wholesalers say is to reduce costs, I am surprised and disappointed that Smiths News has advised that it is putting its charges up from 5 August, particularly as the formula it is uses is one that has never been agreed by the NFRN.
“Rather than continuing to squeeze hard pressed independent retailers for more money, wholesalers should be negotiating with publishers for an improved margin. If publishers want their products to be delivered they should be the ones to bear the cost.
“Failing that, and as delivery costs to supermarkets will only rise by a maximum of £2 a week, there should be a new formula which spreads the cost of delivery to retailers more fairly.”
As a result of the increase, more than 60% of NFRN members will be paying more than £1 a week. 26% will pay just short of £1 a week and just 14% will see their charges stay the same or fall.
Smiths News said the 4.21% increase was based on a 3.9% rise in the Retail Price Index and a 4.7% increase in the Freight Transport Association index in the 12 months to January 2012.