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PUBLISHER FILES “COERCISON” COMPLAINT WITH WATCHDOG OVER RETAILERS’ DEMANDS

News, 16 August 2000


The row between magazine publishers and retail giants Tesco and W H Smith escalated yesterday with the filing of a formal complaint to the Office of Fair Trading.

The UK arm of Bertelsmann-owned magazine publisher Gruner & Jahr, together with distribution specialist Comag, allege that a new magazine distribution venture jointly set-up by the two retailers [WAMN, 8-Aug-00] is trying to coerce them into breaking contracts with other wholesalers.

G&J claims that its refusal to hand over its business to the new Tesco/WHS company – due to launch on 1 October – has led to the supermarket delisting five of its UK titles: Prima, Best, Your Home, Focus and Prima Baby.

At the same time, G&J accuses W H Smith of demanding that it supplies its titles to the chain’s 546 high street shops and bookstalls via a wholly-owned distribution subsidiary, W H Smith News.

News source: The Times (London)