from Paul Chambers, Association of Newspaper & Magazine Wholesalers

Sir; I write regarding recent articles in The Grocer on The Office of Fair Trading’s consultation on the newstrade (eg: ‘Uncomfortable reading matter’, The Grocer, May 28, p28).
Any moves to separate the current distribution arrangements for newspapers and magazines could have far-reaching and long-term consequences for both products and the end consumer.
In its formal response to the OFT’s draft advisory opinion issued on May 19, the ANMW argues newspapers and magazines should not be viewed as separate markets.
The ANMW says it is encouraged that the OFT has recognised that exclusive wholesale territories for newspapers are crucial if the current universal service is to be maintained.
However, wholesalers are concerned at the OFT’s suggestion that magazines should be treated differently in terms of any eventual advisory opinion. Especially since they are distributed in exactly the same way and almost
exclusively at the same time as newspapers.
We believe the current arrangements for magazine distribution are as indispensable as those for newspapers. To separate these arrangements could have far-reaching and long-term consequences for product categories and consumers.
Instead, the ANMW supports a revised, all-embracing code of practice, backed by an industry ombudsman and a modified industry consultation process. We believe these would represent a highly satisfactory outcome, balancing the needs of consumers and the industry.