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Latest News from Retail Newsagent Magazine

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Published by: Retail Newsagent | Published Date: 29th June 2012

Including news on the latest hike in carriage charges from Smiths News and plans by the Post Office to investigate the controversial Horizon computer system.

Call to review carriage charge system after rise

The NRFN has seized on the latest hike in carriage charges from Smiths News to bolster its legal case for a probe into the news delivery monopoly.

The federation has joined the Association of Convenience Stores in a challenge to the Competition Appeals Tribunal in a bid to reverse the Competition Commission’s March decision not to launch a full market investigation into the newstrade.

This week Smiths imposed a 4.21% carriage service charge increase based on a 3.9% rise in the Retail price Index and a 4.7% increase in the Freight Transport Association index in the 12 months to January 2012.

But the NFRN called for wholesale funding to come under urgent review. National President Alan Smith said there should be a new formula that spreads the cost of delivery to retailers more fairly, and that wholesalers should negotiate with publishers for improved margin instead of squeezing retailers.

Beer duty stamps would be a ''bureaucratic burden'

Beer display

Resistance to a system of duty stamps on beer promoted by wholesalers to tackle an epidemic of duty fraud is being led by the NFRN.

The federation says it would place a “huge bureaucratic burden” on retailers and the stamps would be easy to counterfeit by cynical scamsters.

However, the NFRN told a government consultation on alcohol fraud that it supported measures to counter the problem via a register of wholesalers.

The NFRN stance stems from the difficulty for retailers of knowing which of the 8,000 beer products available in the UK are exempt from the duty stamp scheme.

Read Niki Haywood's Blog for more on this story. The NFRN's Public Affairs Manager discusses the NFRN's response to HMRC’s consultation on alcohol fraud and outlines the proposals put forward.

Post Office review to look at Horizon

Nisa Post Office

External investigators have been appointed by the Post Office to look into the controversial Horizon computer system after years of complaints from retailers.

The move follows lobbying by MPs, who called on the Post Office to investigate sub-postmasters’ claims they have been wrongly accused of charges relating to the system.

A team of forensic accountants from 2nd Sight Limited will carry out an independent review into various allegations.

The investigation will relate to 10 cases brought up by MPs and legal firm Shoosmiths. That represents just a handful of the 100 or so sub-postmasters and mistresses who have stated their intention to sue the Post Office which, they claim, had wrongly accused them of theft, fraud and false accounting.

Scots give carrier bag levy study a cautious welcome

Woman holding phone and shopping

Retailers have “cautiously welcomed” the news that a three month consultation is being launched in Scotland to charge 5p for carrier bags.

Under the banner Safeguard Scotland’s Resources, the consultation follows up on the Scottish Nationalist manifesto pledge to phase out free plastic bags.

The proposals are similar to the levy introduced in Wales in October last year. Figures suggest that it has reduced usage in supermarkets by between 60 and 80 per cent.

Given the pre-election promises, retailers were expecting the move. Scottish NFRN President Robert Baillie said: “As we have been anticipating a carrier bag tax, we have been in discussions with the head civil servant in St Andrew’s House who is dealing with the proposal. Read more on this story.

Booker to open 24/7 in London

Booker wholesaler

Major wholesale group Booker has announced that four of its central London branches will be open round the clock during the Olympic Games next month after identifying a number of its customers whose businesses could suffer as a result of planned road closures.

Premises in Tottenham, Nine Elms, St Pancras and Acton will be open 24 hours per day from 23rd July until 10th August.

Retail Newsagent is published by Newtrade Publishing. RN provides weekly news and ideas that help independent retailers like you to grow their sales and profits.

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