Shops slam paper chase
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1 Newspaper carriers NewsLow and TNT Newsfast have een failing to meet contracted aoming delivery times since Acing over distribution from Iritish Rail, claim newsagents the Gloucesterhire area. At nst six are complaining that opies of the Daily Mail and he Daily Telegraph — distrililted by Newsflow and Newsast respectively — are arrivrig up to two hours Late.
One retailer, Elliotts Dairies Huntley, says the problem tarted this summer, when the alblisher of the newspapers witched their distribution from all to road. "It's been dreadIll. We don't know what to do, specially with winter coming in," says owner Jane Woodlouse. "The Daily Mail has leen late almost every day the 1st fortnight."
Elliotts picks its newspapers ip from a drop-off point at ■ .30arn. The newspapers, says Voodhouse, should arrive at vholesaler W H Smith's Aoucester depot by 4.30am, ■ ut often they are hours late. Brendan Fitzmaurice of W H Smith admits there is a problem with some deliveries but is not convinced that the problem is due solely to road distribution. There have been difficulties from road distributors "bedding in their systems", he says, and because there are now "more variables in the system such as different printing plants."
Newsfast's Steve Lay defends his company's performance: "With Telegraph Newspapers we are beating rail times by 30 to 40 minutes," he says.
Between 23 October and 4 November the newspapers were delivered to W H Smith in Gloucester between lam and 3.50am, on average at 3am, he says. This is confirmed by Telegraph national sales manager Paul Chambers, Newsflow's Doug Cartin says its delivery times to the Gloucester area do not bear the newsagent's arguments: "We have a scheduled arrival time of 3am and drops have varied between 1.45am and 3.05am. The latest was 4am, when papers were one-and-ahalf hours late in arriving from the print site."
The facts don't substantiate the comments," he says. "The Daily Mail people are pretty astute. If there was any problem with the Gloucester area, they would let us know."