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

Author: Mark Fletcher

newsXpress swag bag offers a trade show experience

newsXpress sent its members a swag bag of product samples to try and explore a couple of weeks ago. Each swag bag (a box actually) was worth around $200.00 and contained items (mainly but not all) bought by newsXpress from newsXpress preferred suppliers for members to see, touch, feel and try.

Included was literature about products, too – pricing as well as vital contextual information that helps retailers understand the role each product can play.

The swag bag is a unique tactile opportunity that I came up with to fill a void felt by retailers who were missing the trade show experiences.

Here is a photo of some of the items in each swag bag sent to newsXpress members.

There was more than you can see in this photo.

All of the items are from newsXpress preferred suppliers with preferential access, pricing and terms for newsXpress members.

I am grateful to suppliers for their engagement and to newsXpress members for their engagement with the sample products since receiving them.

I doubt trade shows will ever bounce back to where they were, in part because suppliers have benefited from not having that operating cost and in part because plenty of retailers have grown without the cost of trade shows, even though many do miss the ‘holiday’. It’s important we continue to seek out ways to replace the trade show experience, to help retailers keep evolving their businesses.

Newsagency management

Solomon Lew calls for only vaccinated Aussies to be allowed in malls

Premier Investments  Chairman Solomon Lew said yesterday that once Victoria and New South Wales are out of lockdown, only vaccinated people should be allowed in shopping malls:

“It’s our strong preference that the government mandates that all persons entering a mall be vaccinated and temperature checked as well,” Mr Lew said.

Mr Lew said he would not be comfortable sitting down in a food court next to someone who was unvaccinated, and noted it was important the onus for enforcing the rules was placed on shopping centre owners as it would not be practical for each store to have its own marshals checking customers’ vaccination status.

“The centre owners have an absolute responsibility to ensure that the venue is not only safe for the entire family shopping experience, but to ensure that our retail staff have nothing to fear by trying to earn a living working in retail stores,” he said.

I have two shops in Westfield centres. Both shops have been open throughout the pandemic. I know of plenty of small business retailers who have been open throughout. I see no reason to block access to only the vaccinated. Our stringent protocols for staff and customers have, so far, maintained a safe workplace and shopping experience.

It is disappointing that media outlets are giving Lew’s opinions a run today without speaking with the many small business retailers who have been open throughout the pandemic.

Social responsibility

More calls to boycott the Herald Sun

Allied to the protests in Melbourne this past week has been an increase in calls for people to boycott the Herald Sun, with some referencing similar calls in the UK re The Sun.


It’s fair-weather friends season

Some suppliers who have resisted opening accounts with newsagents without looking at the actual businesses applying now welcome retailers from our channel because of our good Covid story.

That we have been open throughout and thrived has shown them the value of retail businesses in our channel.

Suppliers who realised this last year and responded are not the ones I am writing about today. rather, I am writing about suppliers responding to the latest NSW / ACT / VIC lockdowns.

I am aware of several who have steadfastly resisted newsagents who now welcome them as customers. One is actively pushing into the channel, setting up some difficult conversations with existing account retailers when they do get to reopen. They have overcome a prejudice they help for years because they have a warehouse of stock they need to move and our channel is just about the only game in town for them. While it’;s good to see, I do wonder if they really have overcome their prejudice.

I am sceptical of some suppliers opening to our channel. If I was to take any of them on, I’d want certainty that into the future they will not restrict the product categories available to me. If they balk at that question I’d wonder about the long-term prospects for the relationship.

While there is considerable diversity among the retail businesses in our channel, it is, overall, strong, with a bright future. This is in part because of how much many of us have evolved from the shingle.

Newsagency challenges

Hallmark US introduces sign & send

The Hallmark Sign & Send service offers real handwriting on a physical card posted for you. Click here for a story about it from Know Techie.

This new feature can take a lot of the hassle out of sending any kind of card to friends or family. With Sign & Send, you no longer have to browse the aisles of your local CVS to find that perfect card that you can then personalize and send on its way. Now, you can do it all from your phone, at Hallmark.com.

So how does it work? Well, it’s actually fairly simple. All you have to do is head over to the Hallmark website. From there, you can browse a variety of different cards for virtually every occasion, including birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and many more.

Once you’ve found a card that suits your needs, you can then write a personalized message and take a picture and upload it to the Hallmark website, and the company will print your message on the card you chose. After that, Hallmark will send your card to the designated address, and your job is done!

It will be interesting to see if this US offer makes it to any other marketplaces. It would not surprise me to see it here. Their online shopping initiative has quietly launched in Australia. Their local website offers consumer direct purchasing. Hallmark is not the only card company doing this.

But, back to the Sign & Send initiative. Card companies the world over have been trying to find ways to keep shoppers engaged with sending cards. The interest in this has to have intensified through Covid and the challenges faced by some retail channels.

In our place in the greeting card supply chain, now more than ever, we have to ensure we have the best possible range of cards presented in easily browsed and bought situations. This is a product category that response to retailer in-store engagement. I mention this in case newsagents grumble about Hallmark and others making moves to better connect with shoppers. We can grow card sales. Plenty of us are, by being engaged retailers who make data driven decisions.

Greeting Cards

Kikki k troubles an opportunity for newsagents?

With Kikki k in administration for the second time in recent years, it could be a good time to look at your social stationery offering. There are many suppliers in this space that we can access. It is easy to curate ranges that evolve over time, that can be promoted on social media, following some of the excellent marketing cues used by Kikki k.

This space of inspiring stationery that nurtures optimism and feeds happiness is a space made for retailers in the newsagency channel if they want to embrace it.

Meanwhile, Kikki k is quitting stock and stores. This, from their website:

This premium stationery space is competitive. Marketing can’t be traditional and inventory or price driven. The biggest success I have seen in this space has been built on aspiration marketing that is backed by quality product. The moment you take it down a value (discount) path, you’re on unstable ground.

It will be interesting to see what emerges from the Kikki k administration. Maybe third time is a charm. Maybe the brand has value for another business. I suspect the retail stores are in for a rough time as that’s where there is significant cost.

Regardless of what happens next with Kikki k, there is an opportunity right now to consider whether their tough times present an opportunity for you.


Calendar sales already strong for the 2022 season

It is interesting seeing the early surge in sales of 2022 calendars. I see parallels between calendar sales and Christmas card sales. They are an easy gift to post, not expensive and can play into special interests.

Comparing this year to 2020 and 2019, I am seeing data indicating that at this point, 2021 is ahead, which is good news for retailers with calendars out already.

Our focus right now very much is on special interest calendars.

This train calendar fist with the specialty nature of long-tail magazines. We are using calendar images for social media posts, to connect with that shopper looking for these special interest titles.

Right now the opportunity is good because some of our traditional competitors are not open. So, yeah, I am leveraging that essential opportunity, for which I don’t apologise.

The train calendar is from the Bartel range. we have that display on the lease line, where it is working at attracting shoppers. It is next to our boxed Christmas cards. I see them as a natural fit.


Another day of political lobbying by the Herald Sun

Rather than report news, like the coming out of lockdown roadmap released by the State Government yesterday, on the front page, the Herald Sun today runs another front page splash designed to anger Victorians. This looks like interference by a foreign company to me. This lockdown is a result of failures in NSW, a state with a government supported by News Corp and festered by people not following lockdown rules, something I could argue egged-on by News Corp.


Did Herald Sun ‘reporting’ play a role in the Richmond protests yesterday?

I live in Richmond Victoria, a street from where some of the violent protests occurred yesterday, once street away from some disturbing footage you can see in this video:

We have media outlets in this city that have, in my opinion, played a role in encouraging unrest that has played a role ‘encouraging’ the protests.

The Herald Sun has run story after story about the lockdowns, personalising attacks agains the premier. They preference appears to be for opinion, to encourage a set of views, more so than reporting. You only have to see today’s front page to see that in action.

This front page story, Dan’s slow road, is not journalism. The so-called slow road is the road agreed by national cabinet – but there’s no reference to that on the front page.

I am angry at the personal risk I and my neighbours faced yesterday. While the major confrontations were one street away, there were protestors on my street, as well as police. There were also helicopters directly overhead. It was a tense few hours.

The coffee shop I go to had hundreds of protestors outside, closing with police. I can only imaging how they felt.

The actions of the protestors effectively caused us to be barricaded in for the day given how the local streets were barricaded.

I am tired of selling this nonsense published baby News Corp., tired that their newspapers are no longer newspapers, that they are political lobbying pamphlets.

I support free speech. But to dress this up as front page news is ridiculous. News Corp. should focus on news on the front page and restrict opinion peddling to their opinion pages – and they should label them as such.

Do I think the Herald Sun played a role in what we saw yesterday in Victoria? It is hard to say, specifically. I do think the Herald Sun has played a role in encouraging unrest and disrespect.

Footnote: the protest was in Richmond because the police decided to stop the trains at my local station. This decision caused the city planned protest to relocate to my suburb. I would like to understand why the police thought shifting a protest from an empty CBD to populated suburban streets was a good idea.


Amazon promoting Covid vaccination

Here is a flyer being distributed by Amazon, in boxes of products, in recent deliveries here in Melbourne. I was surprised when I first saw it, but then realised that this is a government flyer. It’s not something I have noticed being offered to online retailers.

Here is an example of vaccination encouraging collateral published by newsXpress for use by its members.

There is no obligation on newsXpress members to use this. However, given the engagement by some major retailers, there is kind of an expectation in the community.

I have tested the video and the feedback was encouraging, with people liking the focus on doing this for the kids.

I am not posting here saying businesses should push a pro vaccine message. But, for me, it feels right given that easing of restriction settings does connect with vaccination targets being met.

Social responsibility

10 things you could do in your newsagency business to make it more valuable when you choose to sell

Here are 10 things newsagents could do in their businesses to make them more valuable when it comes time to sell. based on my years of experience working with newsagents and, yes, owning newsagency businesses, most items on this list will be ignored most of the time.

  • Declutter. An appealing looking business is easier to sell. On the shop floor, at the counter, in the back room – declutter and make the business more appealing to you, prospective buyers and customers.
  • Deal with old stock. Old stock is worthless to you and anyone being the business. Keeping it is a waste of space, time and cash. This work starts with you knowing what is old stock. Note: a business doing this for the first time will usually find that a third of their current stock is performing well below what is average for the business.
  • Review unprofitable activity. Look carefully at each category of product or service you offer. Get to an accurate understanding of the value of each. Consider quitting those that are under performing.
  • Trim the roster. Labour costs around 11% of revenue. Every dollar saved is a dollar that benefits the P&L. Yes, this likely means more hours for you. It all depends what you want out of the business.
  • Price for margin. While plenty of retailers pressure suppliers for lower prices, too few actively consider what they could sell some items for, missing the opportunity for a better margin. Where you can, price for a better margin.
  • Document. Write up your processes, systems you follow and more. Document this and make the business easier to run and appear easier to run. The documenting process itself is likely to lead to efficiency opportunities uncovered. The resulting documentation will make the business more appealing.
  • Clean up online. Review your Facebook, Google and other listings. Make sure they are current for if they are not it reflects poorly on the business.
  • Reduce debt. I see too many retail businesses where debt is used with an expectation that it will be dealt with when the business is sold. Clean it up now as much as you are able. The less interest you pay the more money the business makes.
  • Review opening hours. Often in business data I see opening hours opportunities – either for longer hours or shorter hours. be guided by your business data.
  • Balance sheet clean up. While selling a retail business will often not include selling the company structure, the tidiness of your balance sheet may not be ideal for that time you do come to sell. It’s better you discover this and work on it prior to needing to.

This list could be considerably longer. My goal is to encourage newsagents top consider what they can do in their businesses today to make them more valuable when they do choose to sell.

buying a newsagency

Ovato to rebrand as Are Direct

Here is the press release from this morning, in full:

Are Media rebrands Ovato Retail Distribution to Are Direct across Australia and New Zealand

Sydney – 15 September 2021: Are Media has today announced the rebranding of Ovato Retail Distribution (ORD) to Are Direct across Australia and New Zealand.

Are Media remains committed to supporting and strengthening the retail and newsagency sector and the magazine category in its entirety, by ensuring retailers receive a reliable supply of diverse and relevant magazines to drive revenue and foot traffic in store.

Are Direct will continue to distribute Are Media’s magazines and the magazines of local and international publishers to 2,800 newsagents and travel outlets, 2,300 supermarkets and 1,900 convenience stores around Australia and to retail outlets across New Zealand.

Some 250 employees who previously worked for ORD have transitioned to Are Direct, with David Hogan continuing to lead the newly acquired business in Australia and Tony Edwards continuing to lead it in New Zealand.

Jane Huxley, CEO of Are Media said: “Are Direct’s focus continues to be on ensuring magazines from all publishers are efficiently distributed to retailer partners, supporting their businesses and enabling easy access to magazines by all consumers. So it’s very much a case of business as usual.

“I’m delighted to welcome Are Direct’s team to the Are Media family, meaning the deliveries and service support our partners have come to expect are not only maintained but enhanced.”

The Are Direct name change will be effective from Monday 1st November.


Understanding a massive retail competitor

Local small business retailers too often dismiss Amazon as a competitor because they are too big, or feel unreachable. The thing in, Amazon is one of the most clever and engaged data driven companies in the world.

If you want to understand how the company leverages data in its decision making, read Mapping Amazon. Where the Online Giant Locates Its Warehouses and Why. I found it educational, and fascinating.

Amazon is a competitor we need to better understand. Their reach is extraordinary. Every move is calculated, based on data, and that is why this article is important to read.

The article I have linked to can be easy to dismiss with they are not doing that here, because we don’t see it like in Mexico or the US. They are, though, but on a scale approximating our size.

Amazon is a massive competitor. It is vital we try and understand them.


JobSaver program changes damage the program, hurt small businesses

When. announced in July this year by the federal government and NSW government, the JobSaver program was claimed to be an easy offer of financial support ro small businesses in NSW impacted by the latest Covid lockdown. It was simple, until last week.

Late Friday last week, the NSW government announced changes to the program, imposing red-tape obligations on businesses that will hinder their access to funds. The folks at Nine Media have the story:

Red tape nightmare: JobSaver changes stun struggling businesses

Struggling businesses relying on income support to survive lockdown fear jobs will be lost in a sea of red tape created by the NSW government after it unexpectedly tightened eligibility tests around its JobSaver program.

Small and medium businesses receiving payments from the JobSaver scheme were surprised by emails on Friday afternoon from Service NSW informing them they would be required to check their operations meet turnover eligibility criteria for every fortnight from September 10. This followed an extension of the scheme as COVID-19 lockdowns continue.

The request stunned businesses, bookkeepers and accountants as they grappled with requests from clients unaware this would be required.

Institute of Certified Bookkeepers chairman Matthew Addison said there had been discussions about proving companies had kept their employees on the books, but the requirement to recalculate turnover declines was unexpected.

“It is just unreasonable,” Mr Addison said. “I had a heart attack on Friday [about the notice] … They don’t quite understand that while, yes, we are in a digitised world and a digital accounting system, businesses are not focused on getting their revenue numbers into the system, they are just focused on keeping the door open.”

I have heard from several retailers over the last few days about the changes. They are frustrated that the government has changed the rules mid-lockdown, imposing a time obligation on them and introducing uncertainty. I helped a couple of them craft complaints to the state and federal governments about this. I also made my own approaches to each.

Several who contacted me claimed that the government wouldn’t make a move like this against big businesses.

I have done my own research, looking at was announced in July and what was sent our late Friday. The rules have changed.

The changes are such that some retailers may feel it’s not worth reapplying.

To me, the changes seem unnecessary at the moment. What was wrong that required this change now? There was no warning. No reports of anything being broken.

It’s as if the federal government and NSW government have decided that small businesses are not that important to them. But, hey, at the next election they will spit out the usual backbone of the country guff.

JobSaver should not have been touched until after NSW was out of lockdown. And then, review, consider, and change if necessary for next time.

Footnote: I am aware that late last night the state government announced a delay to implementation. What I have written above still holds true. Any changes should come after this current lockdown is over.

Social responsibility

Strong diary sales in the newsagency already

2022 is set to be a busy year if diary sales are anything to go off. We have had diaries out for a few weeks and sales are ahead of 2020 and the all important 2019 (given that last year was odd). Like, way ahead.

Like many newsagents, we have a good range, which we are pitching mid way into the store. We have done a bit on social media but not much. I mention this to note that diary sales are primarily to people seeking them out.

Even though our general stationery sales are way down, because we have ranged that department to be that way, diaries are a focus because they connect with other categories and because they make good gifts. We pitch them this way, too … as gifts and connected with other categories such as journals, notebooks and similar.


Should retailers take a stand on vaxxed or unvaxxed in their shop?

There was noise on social media this week when some retailers said they would welcome anyone to their business, vaxxed or unvaxxed.

Vaccination is a vexed (sorry) issue. You’re damned if you speak up and damned if you do not.

I can understand retailers say they welcome anyone as it presents as inclusive. I can also understand retailers saying they prefer shoppers to be vaccinated, especially if they have family and loved-ones who for some reason cannot currently be vaccinated.

While I am not a fan of fence-sitting, I think with this issue we are better off saying nothing because saying something will attract fringe-dwellers and these folks can be demanding, nasty and distracting. I know a retailer who said anyone is welcome and then found tribes of fringe dwellers on their social media doorstep.

By all means have a view for yourself and those who work in the business as it is your workplace and you have obligations. However, I don’t see how that can extend to customers when the government itself does not have a view.

For sure I want everyone who can to be vaccinated, and urgently. If I was in government with the authority, I’d try and find a way to force that, for the health and safety of the community. I’d tie it to some funding or benefit, as happens already in child care. But, I am not in government and owning a shop does not give me the right to dictate what my customers believe, no matter how much I see my shop as my little kingdom.

So, for me, I’ll have my wish and hope that everyone who can gets vaccinated while, at the same time, serving anyone who comes into the shop. And, while doing this, the shop will remain clean, happy and as Covid safe as possible with masks, hand sanitiser, free face masks and the other steps in place that have kept us safe and trading so far.

Covid has a long long way to go I think. This vaxxed and unvaxxed can shop here pitch is another pot-hole on the road that, when we look back on it, will be a small distraction.


Berejiklian leadership failure by cancelling Covid press conferences

For weeks now the premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian has been warning that the Covid situation is expected to peak in early October, that this is when the hospital system will be under the most stress.

This morning, the Premier announced that she and her political colleagues will no longer run daily Covid press conferences.

This is an appalling decision in my opinion. Cutting opportunity for scrutiny at the time it is most needed speaks volumes and crushes trust. The decision also sends the message that infection is no longer the story, opening it up to people to be less vigilant.

The NSW state government failed to appropriately deal with the latest Covid outbreak. Their decisions relating to reducing infection were weak, late and not backed with appropriate regulations and infrastructure. These failures let Covid infections increase – landing NSW where it is today, with an outbreak at a point that the government appears unable, or unwilling, to control.

Even yesterday, when the Premier was announcing plans to open up, she made it clear that local businesses would have to do the heavy lifting to check Covid vaccine status if they wanted to trade. This is yet another pass of of the buck by a government that is a master of abrogating responsibility.

It is right at this point, at the expected peak of Covid infection rate and hospitalisation, that people in the community crave leadership, they crave faith that it will be okay at some point in the future we can see. But, rather than provide that leadership, the Premier of NSW has decided, for some reason, to go into hiding.

The announcement today will negatively impact community confidence, consumer confidence. It also reduces the opportunity for scrutiny, which weakens democracy. This announcement today is bad for business. I am surprised that the Premier and her cabinet don’t see or understand this.

Right now, confidence is fragile. It needs support, from political and community leaders, for it is this confidence that fuels economic activity.

With the Premier Berejiklian and her state government going into hiding, it will be up to local small business more than ever to comfort and lead, through offering safe and easy shopping, connecting with the local community and helping keeping the wheels of commerce flowing. I see so many local small business retailers doing this every day. They should be proud of their service and the comfort this provides.

The announcement today by the NSW Premier to reduce opportunity for scrutiny would usually be ripped apart by news outlets. I have my doubts that will happen given the lobbying role News Corp and Nine Media outlets seem to play for the conservative side of politics.

Social responsibility

Deleting your business data prior to selling your retail may not be a wise move

A former newsagent got into some legal hot water about the performance of the business as represented through the sales process.

It was when the purchaser discovered historic business data had been deleted that they became suspicious. That kicked off a legal process that was expensive for both sides and resulted in a financial payout to the purchaser.

When you sell a business you sell it with a set of assets necessary to the running of the business. Data are such assets, especially data relating to sales performance. How can someone buying your business expect to achieve results close to yours if they do not have the historic data to guide decisions?

I mention this today as my newsagency software company has a process around any request from a customer for help with deleting data. We ask for the request to be in writing, signed by the owner. We do this based on legal advice. We do not want is to be drawn into a legal battle between vendor and purchaser. We have been in the past, several times, when vendors found business performance that did not match representations made in the sales process.

In the legal fights I have seen at close range (as an expert witness)  it has been expensive for the business purchaser as well as the vendor. If data is deleted, the vendor can’t prove their position and this tends to not play well for them. I’ve reluctantly become involved as an expert witness relating to the management of the data.

My advice to anyone selling their business is don’t delete recent (within the last 7 years) historic business data on which you would, in the usual course of business, expect to rely for decision making.

If any asks me I say don’t delete business data. It is what it is. There is nothing to fear from the truth.

Now, on the matter of data. It is a core business asset, genuinely valuable. Collect it, cultivate it, treat it with care, analyse it. The most successful retail businesses I see do this. A retail business of any size can do it, and expect valuable results from it.

buying a newsagency

Sensory key to sales success

  • If you sell products with a scent, let customers smell them.
  • If you sell products people can eat, let them taste them.
  • If you sell products people can drink, let them have a sip.
  • If you sell products for their feel, let people feel them.

Okay, this is basic retail advice. Yet, too often it is ignored. I tried this with a business recently. They sell fudge. Setting up a safe taste test option and sales took off, way beyond anything they had achieved in the past. I also tried it with a business that sells tea. They were struggling. the sip offer drove excellent sales. Finally, I tried it with a business that sells expensive candles ($75+). They had not lit one because of the cost. After they lit one, the candles started selling.

Even in this Covid world, retail is sensory. Engage with the senses and you will sell more. 

My advice is take a look through your shop and embrace opportunities to engage with the senses. It’s easy, and should drive an immediate response from shoppers. And, yes, this even applies to things you have had forever, like the old Turkish Delight chocolate – people like it and remember it when reminded. Remind them with a taste offer.

Footnote: There are plenty of people telling newsagents right now that they can supply this or that for better margin. You cannot bank a percentage. You can only bank dollars. You make dollars from selling things. So, get the retailing right, the engagement right, and then work on the margin for the items you choose to sell.

Management tip

Why I’m not supporting National Newsagent Week

Besides it having a truly awful logo, National Newsagent Week does not interest me since it seeks to pitch all newsagents. This encourages the channel to by judged as a channel.

A retail channel is only as strong as its weakest link.

I think about the newsagency I saw recently that was dark, with half the lights off. Or the newsagency near my office with more than half the card pockets empty. Or the newsagency that sells topped magazines at a discount. Or the newsagency with stationery covered in dust.

And, then, I think about the newsagency doing close to $500,000 a year in gifts. Or the newsagency doing $100,000 a year in online sales. Or the newsagency that stopped selling magazines and tripled the money they used to make from that space.

All of these, the good and bad, could be businesses loved by local shoppers. All of them identify as newsagencies. But, can they all be promoted as one? I don’t think so.

I get that some folks want to promote the channel to nurture relevance in the mind of consumers. Their hearts are in the right place. Their intentions are good. But this execution? It’s off in my view, not developed by professional marketers.

A black and red logo that has no emotion other than what you attach to black and red: anger and stop.

As a channel we need to address the worst of the worst and understand the negative impact their businesses can have on the perception of all other businesses in the channel. This has to be addressed if we are to run a successful national campaign.

I understand that some will embrace the campaign and say they do well from it. Good luck to them and kudos to the suppliers supporting the campaign.

It’s not for me. I am happy promoting my businesses, locally, and in service of my own local communities … by offering products they want / love and doing this in a way that is truly local.

Good marketing starts from within a business. It is embedded in business decisions, which reach out into the community to attract shoppers. It does not, in my opinion, start with a campaign outside the business pushing people into any business with a common shingle. That’s very 1970s and 1980s. We have evolved from that agent world.

So, what’s the alternative? My proposal would be to take the money pitched by suppliers and somehow have this available for investment in local communities by newsagents who engage with the campaign. rather than a campaign saying come and shop with us it could be action of businesses engaged in local community support, and thereby reinforcing, through the actions, a value proposition that folks in the local community can understand. Participating newsagents could match dollar for dollar the supplier contribution.

Plenty is written about the importance of newsagencies in the local Australian communities. I think there needs to be fewer words and more action.

Newsagency management

ICYMI: Officeworks had an excellent year

In the Wesfarmers results released Friday last week, you can read about the good year had by their Officeworks business.

Officeworks’ revenue increased 8.7 per cent to $3,029 million for the year. Earnings increased 7.6 per cent to $212 million.

“Officeworks delivered solid earnings growth for the year, supported by strong sales growth, despite some margin pressure from continued investment in price, changes in sales mix and higher supply chain costs.

“Officeworks continued to invest in the every-channel model, including through a new Print and Create website, launch of a Geeks2U subscription program and development of its data and digital capabilities to provide more timely, personalised and engaging communication to customers.”

Here are key pages from their investor presentation, which is available publicly. They speak to focus, which I find useful. Their progress on strategy and outlook are instructive as to opportunities we can consider, regardless of business size.

Officeworks has come a long way in the last few years. What was a struggling business is dominant, almost unassailable in the stationery space that was once dominated in Australia by newsagents