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.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here