Retailers have cautiously welcomed the Office of Fair Trading’s recommendations to allow them greater freedom to acts as national newspaper wholesalers.

The OFT’s comments follow its review of the code of practice governing national newspaper wholesalers. Its advice includes removing curbs on where newspapers can be re-sold and scrapping limits to the value and volume that can be sold on.

David Walker, Spar News category manager, said: “I don’t think this is as far reaching as many believed it to be, but it’s a step in the right direction.

“Spar is disappointed that the OFT did not look closer at carriage charges and wholesalers’ territories, but it has not ruled this out in the future.”

John Lennon, MD of the Association of News Retailers, said: “We hope the government will drive forward these recommendations.”

But he pointed out: “The changes would deal with the newspapers. What about magazines? The possibilities for sub-wholesaling would be more immediate in that sector.”

The OFT is inviting industry comment and presenting its final report to the Department of Trade and Industry in March.

News distributor John Menzies commented that they were comfortable with the OFT's proposals on the rights of retailers to sell on titles to other retailers, and “are pleased that the OFT saw no need to make any fundamental changes to the industry”.

Meanwhile, the news wholesaling arm of high street chain WH Smith has said it will increase its carriage charges by 1.2% from January 26.