When news of the trial first broke in September, National President Mike Mitchelson said he would leave no stone unturned and as part of his lobbying he wrote to the chairman of Lego, Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, warning that the distribution rights that had been granted to publisher Egmont to distribute the comic were being violated.
In a letter Mr Mitchelson received from Lego headquarters on 30 November, the manufacturer thanked the NFRN for bringing the trial to its attention and said that in subsequent discussions with its licensing partners, retailers supplied by Menzies Distribution in Wakefield and Smiths News in Newcastle would now receive their supplies of Lego Star Wars at the same time as the multiples.
Andrea Ryder, Lego’s senior director of licensing and publishing, wrote: “Thank you for sharing your concerns in relation to the praxis of how the Lego Star Wars magazines are distributed by our co-publishers Egmont UK in the UK.”
The letter continued: “As an outcome of the discussion I am pleased to inform you that we have been assured that the praxis in handling the distribution of Lego Star Wars magazine will be changed to allow all retailers to have the ability to order and also to receive the Lego Star Wars magazine without a differentiation in delivery timing.”
National President Mike Mitchelson described the news as a “huge victory”. He added: “It was totally unacceptable for independent retailers to be treated as second class so we are extremely pleased – and relieved - that our efforts to get this unfair decision reversed has been successful and that independent retailers will now receive their copies of Lego Star Wars at the same time as the multiples. There were so many things about this trial that were wrong – not least, the discrimination against independent retailers. My hope now is that our supply chain partners will not act foolishly like this again.”
Stuart Reddish, Vice President, said: “The NFRN is 100 years old this year, but we will never grow tired of supporting our members and addressing injustice in the news industry nor in any other supply chain. The NFRN holds a significant share in the news and magazine markets and, therefore, we must be involved in any changes that suppliers are considering when the future of our members and their ability to trade fairly are at stake.”