Retail sales, led by magazines, were down in newsagencies in January through March 2010 compared with the same period last year on a same-store basis according to the latest Tower Systems sales benchmark study. Magazine unit sales fell, on average, 7 per cent over the same period.
The key newsagent departments of magazines and newspapers are reporting concerning declines - especially on the back of declines in 2009 over 2008.
What differentiates this study over those from late 2009 and January 2010 is that green shoots are more evident, as reported in the Newsagency Blog - more newsagencies are showing growth, the difference between those performing well and those performing poorly is greater. For example, there were plenty of participating newsagencies reporting sales growth with magazines. These were pulled down by stores reporting double-digit declines.
The sales benchmark study, another in a series of sales performance studies in newsagencies for many years by Tower Systems, relies on data from a pool of 135 newsagencies using the Tower Systems Point of Sale software.
Looking at magazine categories, weeklies have had a challenging quarter - leading the decline in stores reporting a decline and showing only modest growth in the stores reporting growth. The categories showing the most significant growth are food, cars and special interest.
Newsagencies showing growth are more likely to have the owner or the most senior manager personally involved in magazines, making strategic and opportunistic decisions. These stores are also more likely to be engaged in external marketing which is designed to drive traffic.
The days of newsagents relying on their point of difference to pull traffic are over because our point of difference is no longer obvious.
External marketing around a compelling offer is crucial. This is where the ink result is interesting. Stores showing double digit growth are all running external marketing through flyers or ads in local newspapers.
As previous studies have shown, newsagencies in rural and regional situations fared better than their city counterparts. Shoppers visit less frequently but spend more in each visit - driving sales efficiency.
Outside of the categories noted in the table on the previous page, gifts, social stationery, lotteries and services such as photocopying all performed well.
Click here for a print ready copy of the newsagency sales benchmark report.
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