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Adding unconventional lines can lead to sales growth
Adding unconventional lines can lead to sales growth

Traditional retailers must “think outside the prism of being a newsagent”


By Jennifer Hardwick - Apr 20th 2017, 13:24

Traditional retailers must “think outside the prism of being a newsagent” to be successful with new and unconventional product lines. 

Australian retailer Mark Fletcher told RN that retailers need to “break out of their comfort zone”, and find inspiration from competitors who are successful with other products in their area.

Mr Fletcher, who owns three shops in Melbourne as well as being chief executive of 238-store group NewsXpress, said Australian newsagents have diversified further than their UK counterparts with categories including homeware items, toys, gifts and collectables.

“NewsXpress stores are very successful with high-end collectable teddy bears and some of them are now selling $300 to $400-worth of teddies a day. If you’d have said to them three or four years ago they would never have believed it,” he said, adding jigsaw sales are currently up 16% year-on-year across the portfolio.

“The real growth is coming from hobby products but not necessarily the ones you would expect,” he said. “A lot of retailers tend to think within the prism of being a newsagent and in today’s world they can’t do that.”

Data from the Association of Newspaper and Magazine Wholesalers shows around 500 stores a year in the UK are switching from identifying as newsagents to identifying as convenience stores.

But the NFRN’s head of news Brian Murphy said news “has the widest breadth and depth of any consumer interest category." Retailers choosing to add to it must know what will work in their area, he said.

Kishan Patel, a retail analyst for property agency Christie & Co, said buyers purchasing traditional newsagents are finding ways to incorporate extra elements such as food to go or an off-licence area.

“Traditional newsagents used to have one side of the wall covered in newspapers and magazines. But people buying those stores are splitting the wall in half and use half of it for alcohol or other high-profit products,” he said.

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