WH Smith takes specialist titles off the shelves

WH Smith, the troubled retailer, was yesterday criticised by a number of special interest publishers for plans to reduce the number of stores where their titles are sold.

WH Smith, the troubled retailer, was yesterday criticised by a number of special interest publishers for plans to reduce the number of stores where their titles are sold.

The proposals will affect at least 30 titles including the film magazine Sight and Sound, the political monthly Prospect and History Today.

The reductions emerged from a review instigated by the company's new chief executive Kate Swann, who is facing a £940m takeover bid.

Sight and Sound, which covers world cinema, is one of the worst affected. If the proposals are put in place, the number of outlets where it is sold would drop from 300 to 40.

"The decision is completely crazy and what it will do is put a lot of small magazines out of business," said John Innes, Sight and Sound's publisher. "I think ultimately WH Smith want to become like a supermarket. They want to stock two different brands of beans instead of five different brands, but magazines are different from beans."

History Today will see the number of stores where it goes on sale slashed from 522 to 175.

"WH Smith represents around 50 per cent of our sales; therefore a reduction of two-thirds will make the difference between publishing on news stands being economically viable or not," said the magazine's editor, Peter Furtado.

A spokeswoman for WH Smith said: "News & Magazines is a core category for WH Smith which we are fully committed to. We are currently in the process of a full magazine range review ... The review is ongoing, no decisions have been taken and we have no plans to cut the space in store which we allocate to the sale of news and magazine products.

"Range reviews are a normal part of good retail practice. We regularly review all our ranges to reflect current trends and ensure we stock the most relevant products for our customers."

"Unfortunately it is not physically possible for us to stock all the magazines titles that are currently in print in-store, therefore we provide a magazine ordering service which allows customers to order any current magazine for delivery to their local store."

Richard Ratner, an analyst at Seymour Pierce, said: "I suspect they're looking at the sales of the magazines versus the cost of stocking them, and I suspect it's being done because it's necessary." A typical WH Smith store stocks 1,500 titles, and across the UK the company sells about 3,000 magazine titles.

An Early Day Motion and a Private Member's Bill are due to be tabled in Parliament, supporting a campaign by the left-wing monthly Red Pepper magazine to give all legal publications the right to be sold in newsagents.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Lead Systems Developer / Software Developer

COMPETITIVE + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Lead Systems Developer / Sof...

Recruitment Genius: Social Media & Engagement Manager - French or German Speaker

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The world's leading financial services careers...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive - 6 Months Contract

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Digital Marketing Executive...

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Senior Account Manager

40-45K DOE + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Manager / Senior Account Manag...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory