Home' The Channel Magazine : National Newsagent September 2012 Contents NEWS–STATEOFTHEINDUSTRY
How would you describe demand
conditions/trading conditions for
newsagents over the past six months?
Very poor, the worst our industry has ever
experienced. Customer numbers/visits are
down and the dollars per sale are down.
What are the major factors affecting the
trading environment for newsagencies?
How have these factors changed over the
past six months?
There is a general negative economic
attitude of the population and a decline in
discretionary spending and employment is
shaky outside the mining industry.
Structural change is accelerating,
ie smaller newsagencies are either
closing (no longer viable), handing back
distribution contracts (not viable due
to order of scale necessary to make a
profit from distribution). Federal Award
inflexibility surrounding minimum hours
of engagement, contractual impediments
to charging true cost of delivery. The days
of the small metropolitan ‘mum and dad’
newsagency solely selling papers, cards
and magazines is fast disappearing. To
survive, the retail outlet needs adjuncts
to support the business (lotteries, post
office, franchise etc).
Anticipated that newsagencies, as the
public knows them, will move to retail only
in metro areas with distribution tendered
to logistic specialists who may, or may
not be, presently within the newsagency
What goods have sold the best/worst?
Magazines and newspapers selling poorly
Western Union money transfer is
Tobacco and cigarettes have increased in
Stationery has seen growth
Newspaper sales have declined
Greeting card sales have increased.
How do you see the trading environment
unfolding over coming months? Why?
Soft. Cannot see any improvement until
the public attitude gains some confidence.
Energy prices will start to spook the
consumer as bills start to roll in.
Unemployment is a word starting to be
used by some customers.
What is currently happening to
newsagents’ margins (compared with
say, six months ago)? What factors are
impacting on margins? For example,
wage costs, rental costs, ability to pass
on costs, competition in the industry etc.
Margins are being squeezed—wage, rent,
superannuation, insurance, workers’
comp and energy costs are the key areas
as well as bank charges and EFTPOS
Wages costs are very prohibitive. Penalty
rates are an impost small business simply
How does the number of newsagents
opening/closing over the past six months
compare to the long run average?
We have seen many agents close their
doors over the last few years. More agents
are expressing their fears of continuing
Have there been any further structural
changes in the industry since we
last spoke? For example, changes to
circulation guidelines, growth in non-
traditional business areas, productivity
Fairfax’s new fixed fee has further eroded
newsagents’ economic viability.
Newspaper publishers are to change their
How has newsagents’ ability to access
finance changed over the past six
months? How has the cost of finance
Banks appear to require greater security
and personal guarantees along with
pushing hard for reduced indebtedness.
How do newsagents generally fund their
Extending payment times from 30 days to
45 or even 60 days and using credit cards
to pay bills.
What were the main messages from the
2012 Newsagency Industry Conference
Change is inevitable; most newsagents
know it is coming but we are still
uncertain of what the future holds.
Are there are any other significant
issues that have a bearing on the retail
environment for newsagencies that we
have not already discussed?
Loss of home delivery distribution from
individual shops—this is causing a loss of
customer foot traffic
The lack of government support to small
business. Coles\Woolworths domination of
the retail sector
The uncertainty caused by News Limited
and Fairfax causes instability in the
industry. Businesses cannot be sold as
there is no contract certainty. We don’t
know what we have to sell.
When the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) asked how newsagents were faring, the ANF
forwarded the questions to newsagents for a quick overview of how they were faring.
Here is a summary from a small sample of agents from every State.
National Newsagent September 2012
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