NFRN National President Stuart Reddish said: “Yesterday, NFRN members who are served by Smiths News applauded the news wholesaler for taking the bold step of automatically compensating its retail customers for materially late supplies. Today, those same members are enraged and are accusing Smiths News of giving with one hand and taking with the other.
“This is yet another nail in the coffin for independent retailers who are struggling to pay their bills in such a challenging trading environment.
“Smiths News tries to justify its actions by saying the increase is 93p per week but this means that hard-pressed news retailers are going to have to find nearly £50 a year to pay for a service that can be far from acceptable.
“All we can hope is that the money it recoups will be spent in improving its day to day operations with earlier delivery times and no shortages or recharges.
“In September the NFRN is running a summit to look at the workings of the supply chain and in the light of this latest carriage charge increase this event will now be even more important. We are pleased that Smiths News chief executive Jon Bunting has confirmed his place and we will be taking the opportunity to challenge him over this latest carriage charge increase. It is also crucial that all publishers attend as their intervention is vital to prevent even more retailers exiting the news category.”