UK Consumer Watchdog in Magazines U-Turn

15 March 2006

   The UK's consumer watchdog will review its controversial plans to overhaul the magazine distribution industry, which it accused of contravening EU competition rules.
   Publishers and small store owners welcomed the Office of Fair Trading's U-turn after they had campaigned fiercely to keep the current system, under which retailers source magazines from a single wholesaler who is granted a monopoly for a particular region.
    Many industry groups fear free competition, proposed by the OFT, would allow big retailers such as supermarkets to sign cheaper distribution deals with wholesalers, leaving independent stores to pay more for smaller deliveries to out-of-the-way places.