Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Misplaced Habits: The Newsagent

Mark Fletcher
July 30th, 2015 · No Comments

Misplaced Habits: The Newsagent is a heartfelt and moving blog post by Cath Feely, a social and cultural historian of modern Britain. I encourage you to read it as it takes you on a journey of memories to the quintessential British newsagency business. At the end is this paragraph:

Proper newsagents now seem to me to be an endangered species, a misplaced habit. Some are still there, clinging on, diversifying as they always have done, in the face of competition from supermarkets opening ‘local’ shops. My local newsagent in Withington, Manchester, closed last year as it sat opposite a new Sainsbury’s Local. The place where I got my pic ‘n’ mix has been converted into a house. For me, the newsagent has become a place of nostalgia. But I imagine there are still many communities in Britain where the newsagent remains a gateway to the wider world.

These challenges faced by UK newsagents are challenges we face here. The benefit for us is that we have such a solid based in greeting cards and this for many newsagents is proving to be the foundation of a bright future.

The majority of UK newsagents years ago appear to have decided to compete in the convenience space and in doing so took on the most powerful retail business competitors. I don’t see any cost effective upside for newsagents in the convenience space as I explained in a post here recently.

Each of us in business is responsible for our situation. It is too easy to blame supermarkets or the landlord or declining print media sales. None of these is a new challenge. Smart newsagents have managed through changes necessary. It is tough and the future we pursue is very different to our past. So while the newsagency of the past is disappearing, in many cases a new business emerges that is as locally connected as the newsagency.

Please read this history piece by Cath Feely. It’s a good read.

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Category: Newsagency

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