Menzies Distribution has followed Smiths News by increasing its carriage charges by 4.8%.

The newspaper and magazine wholesaler said the charge would increase from 1 October due to rising distribution costs.

"Freight Transport Association data suggests a combination of increases in fuel prices, wages and vehicles merits a 9.6% increase in charges," said Menzies Distribution MD David McIntosh. "We have chosen to absorb half this cost ourselves."

However, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents and the Association of News Retailing hit out at the hike, which follows Smiths News' 4.9% increase ­announced last month.

"No right-minded person would believe that a competition authority would sustain such malpractice as exists in the news industry, where ­publishers can generate monopoly distribution ­arrangements and exploit that to give themselves a cheap route to market at the expense of retailers," said NFRN CEO Paul Baxter.

ANR public affairs director Shane Brennan added: "The current system will be damaging to consumers because retailers will pass on cost increases through other products they sell, and through cost savings that will undermine ­service."