Home' The Channel Magazine : National Newsagent November December 2015 Contents 14 National Newsagent - November/December 2015
In 1991, CEO of the Newsagents Association
of NSW & ACT Ltd (NANA), Graeme Day
wrote an article called ‘Rip Van Newsagent’
which said the recession was biting,
consumers had too much debt and retailers
were going broke. “...if you are not in it for
fun and profit, then what are you doing here
at all?” Graeme wrote, “Newsagents of the
1990s will need to understand new trends...
they must act quickly...”
25 years later Graeme has written another
article for National Newsagent and it is fitting
that the CEO who gave the go ahead for
the first National Newsagent should have a
In 1990, ten years into the TPC Authorisation granted in
1980 allowing exclusive trading and a zoned ‘block’ system
of protected retail/distribution for newsagencies,
he ACCC announced an interim case study into the need
for its continuance.
They claimed ‘changed circumstances’ in lifestyle and media
coverage, including the increased coverage of news
and the general increase of current affairs programs, didn’t
warrant the exclusive monopoly that newsagents were
It caused concern for the Board of NANA, on behalf of
newsagents, and all publishers; the ACCC became the focus
for the future.
At that time NANA had grown to 26 staff with 1500 fully paid
members and introduced new services such as phone card
commissions at 15% payable monthly and a courier service
organised with pick up points at service stations for lottery
returns. National Newsagent, a NANA initiative, was born,
Green Slips with Sun Alliance and a manual bill pay system
were all benefits for newsagents.
They were the heady days of growth and newsagents with
an approved monopoly had clout, and used it to dictate
better terms with landlords and suppliers.
I wrote an article January 1991; ‘Rip Van Newsagent’, a
generalised ‘wake-up call’ that some say is even
Things have changed nevertheless but it was the ‘beginning
of the end’ as we knew it.
Marketing and franchise groups were formulated from 1980
through to total deregulation in February 2001. There were
many, some failed, however the survivors since deregulation
are newspower, nextra, newsXpress, SupaNews (now WH
Smith) and The Lucky Charm.
In 2008 the GFC changed everything, worldwide, from
quantitative easing, lower interest rates, increasing under
consumption in bricks and mortar retailing thus enhancing
the on line retail experience.
It was the perfect storm for those retail businesses with
high leverage loans on their businesses and houses.
Newsagencies were right up the top of the list.
We have now reached the ‘end of the beginning’ and are
embracing the Brave New World.
We do need to move on as all the proactive franchise groups
inform us every day. Product mix with higher margins needs
looking at, we need to rationalise our retail space, we need
to according to some reconsider the importance of the brand
‘newsagency’ and its core products. We say we need to be
united but each group by nature has effectively fragmented
Space allocation, business models and store information
performance reports have been in existence for 23 years.
However, now is the time to take it on board, seriously, with
proper structure and administration being as important as
promotion. It’s time that we understood that cash flow versus
the profitability of our businesses is an integral part of its
weaknesses and strengths.
This is the Brave New World. It’s one that requires you to
take your business and learn it inside out, to become a
business person as well as a marketer, retailer and employer.
It’s the real deal now and as they say, “When the going gets
tough, the tough get going.”
Yes we need the sizzle, the warm and fuzzy feeling, the
comradeship of belonging. However, without the sausage
the sizzle will just be the arousing vapour in the breeze
floating and drifting away as others have already.
Restructuring all financial aspects of your business is the
future, the add-to, not a take-away, from the franchise groups
today. It takes a certain knowledge and experience, it needs
money or the know-how to create extra profits along with
capital expenditure/raising with a cash flow business plan to
suit the individual business’s entry into the Brave New World
that is facing us right now.
Consultant, Business Performance Analysis
BRAVE NEW WORLD
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