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

Join me in a look at the Q4 2020 performance of 5 regional newsagency businesses – demonstrating core health of our channel

Here is a video of a discussion I had yesterday exploring the impact newsXpress has on member businesses. we look at the performance over the last quarter of last year compared to the same period in 2019.

There is much more that could be shared, including even greater successes as well as a more gradual detail. Think of this video as the start of a conversation abut the difference an engaged marketing group can make with engaged newsagents keen for change.

I am sharing this video to show the great success regional newsagents have made for themselves, to celebrate it and to reflect how far each of these businesses has transformed from what we used to think of as newsagencies.


Join the discussion

  1. Steve

    Some fantastic results here and great to see regional NewsXpress stores experiencing solid growth in the non traditional categories including books. I also note that at least 3 Regional NewsXpress stores have joined the ABAs Booksellers Choice buying group, as we have done and which not only contributed to our own 444 per cent sales growth for the quarter but also provided increased margins in this category.


  2. Graeme Day

    hi Steve, a slight correction here.
    Books -Toys – Gifts- Cigarettes and Lottery Tickets were in many newsagencies in the 60’s 70’s and they moved away to become specialty stores in the growing Retail Shopping Centre developing market.
    Bookshops. Toys Shops tobacconist. There are now two newsagencies in our area just purchased, that have converted to tobacconist with Lotteries and Gifts with Cards. Going great guns and looking for more newsagency outlets to purchase to do the same with.
    It is now a return for newsagents to go for those that grew through this era.
    for new newsagents it’s great as well.
    The joining of repsective Associations such as Booksellers etc was andstill is a must as newsagencies traditonally received lower margins Penguin Book were 33% when we joined in 1970 we got 40% and then when we opened a Bookshop with On The Spot lotteries at Birkenhead it went on volumes sales to around 46%.
    It’s great to see it coming back Books especially as they fit into a Gift category as well as personal reading one. Consumers realte to these products in our category It’s frustrating to see it not taken on as you have for they don’t know what they are missing.


  3. Steve

    Yes the cycle is interesting Graeme. Our own store started up as a newsagency and homewares store way back in 1885. I have a copy of a heritage street study done for our town back in the early 80’s which shows that our store had an adjoining toy and gift shop at that stage. Books and Toys are the 2 big growth areas for us both providing triple digit growth year on year. I guess the move back to high street shopping is putting us in the right place at the right time.

    PS the Booksellers choice buying group is now providing us with a minimum 47 per cent margin from most publishers. Greater volume purchases are providing additional margins. Just needing some additional floor space so I can certainly relate to the discussion in Mark’s video post.


  4. Mark Fletcher

    My hope is that newsagency yet to evolve from focussing on the 5 pillars traditional for our channel (papers, magazines, lotteries, cards and stationery), watch the video and realise what regional, small and high street businesses can achieve.

    And, no, I am not saying ditch the 5 pillars. rather, I am saying add new traffic generating categories.

    It is possible. Growth is possible, no matter where your business is located and no matter your capital situation.

    As I note in the video, there are stores with even better results, bigger numbers.


  5. Graeme Day

    Steve, I knew the previous owners one removed from your seller I can;t remeber the names at this moment howver they had been there around 100 years if I recall.
    You would have better info re them than I at this stage,
    A great family business it’s good to see you revitalising the Books especially and Yes you do need more space to cater for these type of goods.


  6. Steve

    Yes Graeme the Waddell family owned our store for 109 years. Al Waddell finally retired with us last year at age 78. His grandfather Andrew Waddell started the store in 1885 and our storeroom was Al’s childhood bedroom.As the 3rd family owners we proudly display pictures of Andrew and the store in its early days inside our store.

    Mark I agree the 5 pillars are still important but as you advise other streams currently provide the cream. I also agree large capital outlays are not required to provide significant growth in our channel. Importantly our store has adapted to change ever since 1885 and we continue to do so. I encourage others to heed your advice.


  7. Mark Fletcher

    Steve, it is a challenge to get people to understand, to believe that they can achieve success in any location and with limited resources.

    I think the more newsagents embracing change and enjoying success, like you, speak up, the more will listen.

    2021 can be an excellent year for our channel.


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