Australian Newsagency Blog

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

Newsagency retail sales revenue benchmark results: April – June 2020 vs. 2019.

Mark Fletcher
July 28th, 2020 · 3 Comments

The positive and negative impacts of COVID-19 on  newsagency retail sales revenue across Australia.

The results of the June 2020 quarter newsagency retail sales benchmark show the extent to which COVID-19 is impacting businesses.

There are winners and losers.

  • The winners are regional and high street retailers.
  • The losers are shipping centre based retailers.

Looking at comprehensive retail sales data from 137 newsagencies for April – June 2020 compared to April – June 2019, the results underscore the value of the retail newsagency channel to local communities. This is a same-store comparison, making the results meaningful. FYI, I removed stores that were closed for any time in the reporting periods.

Data include a mix of rooftops from several brands. The benchmark includes data from businesses using the Tower newsagency software and several who are not.

Given the extraordinary gap in performance, I share the results separately, because reporting them as one dataset does not make sense.

Shopping centre based retail newsagencies.

  • Transaction count change: down 42%.
  • Revenue change: down 36%.
  • Basket size change: up 11%.
  • Newspaper unit sales: down 15%.
  • Magazine unit sales: down 21%.
  • Cards revenue: down 27%.
  • Stationery revenue:  down 11%.
  • Gift revenue: down 45%.
  • Toy revenue: down 42%.
  • Puzzle revenue: up 5%. A quarter of reporting businesses sell puzzles.
  • Instant lottery revenue: up 9%. Half reporting businesses have lotteries.
  • Lottery revenue:  down 5%.

A note about shopping centre data. The dataset in small, just under 10% of respondents. However, the gap between respondents is small.

High street newsagencies.

  • Transaction count change: down 5%.
  • Revenue change: up 27%.
  • Basket size change: up 20%.
  • Newspaper unit sales: down 5%. early din, there was a jump, which has disappeared.
  • Magazine unit sales: up 5%.
  • Cards revenue: up 7%. There are pockets of success – female birthday and thank you cards, in particular.
  • Stationery revenue:  up 13%. Homeschooling and home office, of course.
  • Gift revenue: up 25%. Some categories are down while others, like nesting products, are in triple-digit growth.
  • Toy revenue: up 13%.
  • Puzzle revenue: up 150%. Less than half reporting businesses sell puzzles.
  • Instant lottery revenue: up 16%. Just over half reporting businesses have lotteries.
  • Lottery revenue:  up 4%.

A note about this high street data: it includes regional and rural as well as suburban high street. The performance of regional and rural is considerably better than suburban high street for the most part. How much, you ask? Around 33% better is my response.

Embarrassed.

Plenty of regional and high street newsagents are embarrassed to be reporting such good numbers. Their growth while other businesses nearby are struggling makes them not want to be too open about their success. Even within the newsagency channel there are those in growth who do not want to talk about it with newsagents who are way down.

A moving feast.

Looking at early July data, I’d note that it would be wrong to lock the April – June  results into a view for the long term. We are certainly in a period of significant change. The next quarter results could be different again.

What have we learned from the last 3 and 6 months?

  • Shopping local has been embraced.
  • The high street feels safer than a shopping mall.
  • Newsagencies are trusted and appreciated businesses.
  • Our channel is essential.
  • A newsagency is a good business to own overall.

While we have learned more, this list is my key points.

Finally, I am grateful to all newsagents who shared their data for inclusion in this study.

Mark Fletcher.
Email: mark@towersystems.com.au  Website: www.towersystems.com.au  Blog: www.newsagencyblog.com.au
M | 0418 321 338

9 likes

Category: Newsagency benchmark · newsagency of the future · Newsagency opportunities

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Colin // Jul 29, 2020 at 8:49 PM

    I recall when major news events occurred publishers would increase print runs. That paper sales are down shouts they are finished.

    I also think magazine sales are low, they should have benefited more from the lockdown.

    Lottery is also interesting, only up 4% with the nation’s pubs shut down. The online sales numbers will be interesting

    0 likes

  • 2 PJ // Jul 30, 2020 at 12:02 AM

    Pokie players turned to scratchits. Hence even an increase for centre based shops. Multiple magazines were suspended, most now stopped, so would have affected sales a little. Next quarter newspaper sales for many regionals will be substantial with closures from June 30.

    0 likes

  • 3 Mark Fletcher // Jul 30, 2020 at 6:26 AM

    The gap in scratchiest sales performance between city and regional was considerable. I didn’t report it as the sample size was smaller. A couple of businesses almost doubles sales.

    0 likes

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