OFT to Review Newspaper Distribution Code

18 January 2002

The code governing the distribution of Britain’s newspapers will be reviewed by the Office of Fair Trading, it emerged this week.

Designed to supply simple criteria governing whether a retailer can be supplied with newspapers from a wholesaler, the code was introduced in 1993, and last reviewed in 1997.

The OFT must look over the regulations and decide whether any changes within the industry require alterations to the code.

Several areas in particular face scrutiny:

* Entry levels (the minimum threshold retailers must meet before being able to sell papers)

* Retail margins (the pence per copy mark-up from wholesaler to retailer)

* Sub-retailing (where retailers supply other retailers)

* The geographical areas publishers grant to wholesalers on an exclusive basis

* Carriage costs (paid by retailers to wholesalers to cover delivery expenses)

* Complaints and arguments arising from the code

Submissions to the OFT review can be made until 11 April. Further details can be found at www.oft.gov.uk.

News source: Periodical Publishers Association (UK)