The Association of News Retailing has called for the publication of wholesaler league tables to monitor the performance of depots run by news and magazine wholesalers Smiths News and Menzies Distribution.

Newstrade was left with just two operators last year after Dawson News folded, prompting claims of a duopoly. Writing in the ACS's latest newsletter, ANR MD John Lennon said league tables would let the wholesalers prove they weren't "abusing their monopoly".

"Both wholesalers operate centralised call centres where all calls are logged, including complaints, and we know these figures are collected internally. Why are they not published to show how good the service of each depot is?" he wrote.

"This information can be used to drive up standards in poorer-performing depots and it could also be used to reward the best performing depots, re-injecting a small element of competition to the only part of the supply chain that is not competitive."

Work is currently underway to create a new body the Press Distribution Forum to replace the Joint Industry Group. Lennon said the new forum should ensure retailers had the right to stock the titles they wanted in the quantities they needed. "What is completely unacceptable is for a retailer to stop or reduce a title and then for the wholesaler to ignore that change," Lennon argued. "This speculative practice is costly, clogs up shelves, ties up retailers' cash, is immoral, and must stop."