The Association of News Retailing, the newspaper and magazine arm of the Association of Convenience Stores, has suspended its membership of the Joint Industry Group.

JIG was set up to bring publishers, wholesalers and retailers together to resolve issues such as rising carriage charges, falling newspaper margins and supply shortcomings.

But ANR MD John Lennon declared this week: “Publishers and wholesalers are only participating in JIG to protect the status quo. ANR’s participation in JIG costs tens of thousands of pounds a year and it is hard to justify this expenditure.”

Lennon is frustrated by poor progress on issues such as carriage charges and short deadlines given to retailers to return unsold publications.

“Tesco is threatening to fine publishers if they do not provide the quantities it wants when it specifies. That’s how bad the chain is. But smaller multiples and shops do not have that power.”

The ANR will review its relationship with JIG at its next board meeting.