WH Smith blasts lack of Guardian guidance

A row seems to have erupted between The Guardian and retailer WH Smith over the newspaper’s launch in Berliner format next Monday.

The retailer has criticised Guardian Newspapers’ handling of the launch and with less than a week to go, a source close to the situation says that a lack of information over the delivery of special newspaper display units has caused concern in stores.

The executive says: “We know the launch is Monday, but we know little else. It has been very difficult to get any information from The Guardian.

“The company has requested we use its new display units, but we don’t know when they are being delivered. The Observer doesn’t change size until the new year, so they will stand empty on Sundays, taking up premium store space.”

But The Guardian insists that it has worked closely with retailers over storing the Berliner in a range of branded bespoke equipment. (MW July 28).

A spokeswoman for Guardian Newspapers says: “We have been talking to WH Smith for more than a year under a non-disclosure agreement in order to provide as much information as possible about our retail strategy.

“We’ve had nothing but praise from all sectors of retail for the way we have shared plans and consulted.”

Marketing activity for the Berliner launch began this week, with double-page ads in the trade press. The strapline reads “The End” in Guardian type, followed by the launch date and the message “new thinking”. The strapline “Less awkward size, same awkward questions” will be used at the point of purchase.

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