This week, the supermarket chain delisted The Sunday Times from all of its stores following News International's decision to increase the cover price from £2.00 to £2.20. Despite the increase, retailers will receive just 1.7p extra per copy reducing margins from 25% to 23.5%.
"The Sunday Times came to us late last week with an unexpected price rise," a spokesman for Asda said. "We're currently looking into whether the price rise is justified."
NFRN trade relations manager, David Daniel, said Asda's move would not help the cause of indies, who have been battling falling newspaper margins for some time. In June, the Daily Star cut its cover price, reducing retailer profits to just 4.84p.
"Unlike Asda, which can delist any title across its full range of stores, just two or more independents are prevented from taking collective action," he said. "Previously, the fact that supermarkets did not seem to use their muscle when independent retailers have their margins cut has fuelled suspicion that publishers are doing off-invoice deals with the multiples to keep them sweet."