News could be a headline act

18 May, 2007

Q I'm gradually diversifying my product lines and think there may be money to be made selling newspapers and magazines. How do I get started and what do I need to consider?

A Independent newsagents are among the hardest-working people in the retail sector and if you're going into this market seriously, be prepared for long hours, lots of bulky packages to lug about and deliveries to organise. The chances are that your area is already served by a newsagent of some description, so think hard about your chances of success.

The Association of Convenience Stores offers some excellent advice on its website and provides the following checklist:

1 Is the nearest shop that sells news more than 200 m away, or could you get more out of news than your local competitors?

2 Has the housing around you increased over the past two years?

3 Is your store close to a school or ­factory?

4 Would you consider opening at 6am every morning (seven days a week)?

5 Can you give a minimum 2m of wall space to magazines?

6 Have you or anybody employed by you ever handled news before?

7 Are you prepared to lose money on newspapers? You can't send unsold copies back for at least six months, due to minimum entry level (MEL).

8 Because newspapers/magazines are delivered between 4am and 5am in the morning, do you have a secure place where they can be left?

9 If not, are you prepared to buy a secure news box (approximately £200)?

The ACS Best Practice guide suggests that retailers able to answer "yes" to most of those questions should seriously consider news and magazines.

One stumbling block is that it will normally take six months before a wholesaler will grant you sale or return facilities, and will set a minimum value of newspapers for that period.

"For example, your MEL could be £370 at retail," the ACS explains. "This means that from Sunday to Saturday you will have to take £370 of newspapers, or £53 per day. This £53 will be made up of a certain number of copies of each newspaper, for example 30 Sun, 25 Mirror etc.You will be able to adjust the quantities of each newspaper, providing the total retail sales value still adds up to £53."

Read the full details on www.thelocalshop.com or to find your nearest wholesaler contact the Association of News & Magazine Wholesalers on 0207 242 3458.




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