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

Newsagents are dying says a newsagent who just closed their business

It is frustrating reading about a newsagent who has closed their business having sold the building to a developer who bags the channel they are leaving.

Newsagents are dying.

This quote is from Des Higginbotham, the owner of the now closed Ferntree Gully Newsagency in an article the local paper, the Star Mail. Here are some other quotes from Des:

“Newsagencies have changed a lot over the years.

“Ever since they took the newspaper distribution away from us, it changed the whole dynamic.

“We lost a lot of traffic flow, and a lot of cash flow – we used to give tasty trucks 1200 suns a day, with serious money!”

“Newsagents are dying, if it hadn’t been for tax lotto wouldn’t have survived,” he said.

While this may be Des’ experience, there are plenty in the channel who would disagree.

I know of newsagents who felt relief at quitting the distribution side of their business and relishing being focussed 100% on being retailers.

There are newsagents enjoying double digit growth in 2023 over a good 2022.

Sure, there are those in struggling businesses. In many cases this has to do with lack of embrace of change, lack of reaching outside the local area for shoppers. Those challenged today tend to still have the mindset of being agents rather than retailers. Suppliers have a bit to answer for with this.

I wish Des and Linda all the best. Hopefully, they will not talk down our channel any more. Maybe in retirement they could visit newsagencies near where they had their shop and see thriving and relevant businesses in action.

Every newsagent is responsible for their business.

Being a victim is unhelpful.

It is never too late to embrace change.

The biggest growth opportunities for our channel are product that deliver 50% and more gross profit opportunities. Some of these are outside what is traditional for our types of businesses. They help us attract new shoppers.

This is a fun space in which to play. But if you cling to an agent mentality like Des appears to have, you’re unlikely to see these opportunities.

It is disappointing that media outlets give voice to views that reflect on our channel as it was 20+ years ago as if those views are relevant today. All of us in newsagency businesses today should call this old-school view out and talk about the reality of where we are at today, the new opportunities that are working for us.

Newsagency challenges

Join the discussion

  1. Rod Hurley

    When we were looking for a newsagent to buy 5 years ago, we actively sought out only those WITHOUT deliveries. Newspapers are history, move on!


  2. Shelley

    I remember when we took over our newsagency 22 years ago and thinking ‘wow, this is already a great business, how are we going to improve on it’. Today I am grateful that we are nothing like that business back then and that not only do we have control over what we sell and for how much, we are actually making money.


  3. Justin

    If only someone has warned us to embrace change!

    If only someone had pointed us in the direction of seeking product that deliver 50% and more gross profit opportunities.

    If only someone had warned us about clinging to an agent mentality!

    Thank you Mark Fletcher! I have been reading, listening and implementing your advice and I am thriving!


  4. Mark Fletcher

    Thank you Rod, Shelley and Justin for commenting on this post.

    Every day in our channel, in Australia, Ireland and elsewhere, newsagents have opportunities to reach more shoppers by being engaged and innovative retailers.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reload Image