NFRN warns against carriage charge increases
Menzies' latest carriage charge increases will cost livelihoods and jobs, warn independent UK retailers
18 February 2020 | 0
The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) has warned Menzies Distribution that its average carriage charge increase of 3.5% in the UK will jeopardise livelihoods and could cost retail jobs. The company said the increases are designed to compensate for increased labour costs caused by forthcoming National Living Wage rises.
Last week, Menzies Distribution wrote to its customers advising of the increases, which will take effect from 4 April. In Northern Ireland, retailers will see their charges rise by an average 2%. In the Republic of Ireland, the increase is 2.5%.
In the letter, Menzies managing director Greg Michael said the company was “committed to the long-term sustainability of newstrade”, adding that it was working with retailers, distributors and publishers to implement efficiency measures that drive out costs where possible with a view to enabling us to “support the long-term health of our shared supply chain.
“While we are able to control and partially mitigate some of the costs,” Michael wrote, “there are wider economic influences outside of our control.”
Michael said the 6.2% increase in the national living wage from 1 April was the trigger for reviewing its carriage charge template.
Responding, NFRN national president Stuart Reddish said the rises and the reasons behind them are “deeply disappointing”.
“Unlike Menzies,” Reddish said, “our members do not have the opportunity to pass these onto their customers in the form of increased prices.”
“These increases will cost jobs, will cost livelihoods and, most important of all, could deprive communities of their only shop,” Reddish continued. “It seems that Menzies has no true understanding of the plight of independent retailers.
“Three quarters of NFRN members served by Menzies will see their carriage charge bills rise come April yet there is no indication of any improvements to service levels or any new measures that will make it easier for the news wholesaler and retailer to do business together,” he said.
Reddish added that Greg Michael had agreed to meet with the NFRN on 24 February to discuss the issue.