Newsagents express dismay as UK’s Independent titles prepare to close
NFRN's UK national president says that while the news is 'disappointing', it does 'not sound the death knell for the industry'
16 February 2016
The final edition of the London-based Independent will be published on 26 March, while the last Independent on Sunday will be printed on 20 March, owner Evgeny Lebedev has confirmed.
In a move to a ‘digital only’ offering, the independent.co.uk news website will continue to operate, although it is not yet clear how many of the organisation’s 150 journalists will be affected by the decision.
The Irish Times reports that despite stringent cost-cutting by the titles’ owners, the Lebdev family, they are nevertheless believed to have lost more than £65 million in the last five years. The Independent’s paid circulation is 40,718 while the Sunday title sells 42,888 copies. In fact, overall, national newspapers now sell nearly seven million print copies a day in the UK, compared with 13 million 10 years ago.
The Lebdevs are reportedly also selling the i newspaper title, which carries a cover price of just 20p, to the Johnston Press Group. It has fared considerably better than its more expensive stablemates, with a circulation of 200,000 copies.
Commenting on the news, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) in the UK, said it was “dismayed and disappointed” by the decision.
However NFRN national president Ralph Patel appeared determined to look on the bright side of the situation, stating: “This move does not sound the death knell for the industry, despite the challenging conditions that publishers, wholesalers and retailers all face. The printed word continues to offer an incredible consumer experience that is second to none and this will continue for years to come.
“Newspapers remain a core purchase for millions of consumers who either visit their local independent newsagents every day to pick up their favourite titles or have them home delivered through value added services such as the NFRN’s Store2Door initiative.”
Patel added:”While the Independent titles may be closing we understand there could be an exciting new addition to news stands just around the corner.”