While some newsagents reported huge demand for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day newspapers, with customers snapping up souvenir editions, others claim it was a washout. And some independents say publishers missed out on sales during the Christmas and New Year period by not allocating them enough supplies.

Grimsby newsagent Ray Lawrance said: “A real sales opportunity was missed. On January 2 all my papers had gone by 9 am. “All the supermarkets were shut but I was not in a position to take advantage and sell more papers because I didn’t have the supplies. The copies that normally go to the supermarkets must have been taken out of the system.”

However, Newsagents Federation London district president Shailesh Patel described sales of national newspapers on New Year’s Day as “phenomenal”. Patel, in Cockfosters, North London, said he sold 180 copies of the Daily Mail compared to his usual 140. “I opened at 10am and by 11.15am all had gone.”

Some retailers who stayed shut on January 1 reported strong sales of the millennium papers. Southampton newsagent John Stranger sold the New Year’s Day papers the following day and had sold out by 10am. “I have since asked for extra copies. It also shows that you could have the day off but still benefit.”

Mail Newspapers circulation director Mike Newman admitted publishers could have done better. But he added: “On New Year’s Day some newsagents decided to open when they had said they wouldn’t and wholesalers did not have the supplies.” Mirror deputy circulation director Robert Mayne said: “We had a decent supply to small shops which was above our normal supply levels.”