WH Smith is to give more shelf space to market-leading titles at the expense of lower circulation rivals as it puts magazine sales at the heart of its turnaround strategy.
Phil McNally, business unit director for the high-street retailer, announced the change at the Periodical Publishers Association’s The Changing Retail Environment newstrade forum last week.
The strategy has been trialled at the chain’s travel stores and will be rolled out across the business from next February. McNally insists that while market-leading magazines will be given more and better shelf space, the number of titles stocked will not decrease.
WH Smith hopes the tactic will encourage more customers to buy magazines – currently only 25 per cent do. McNally also revealed that WH Smiths’ big priority was making magazine purchasing “more convenient”, to improve efficiency and profitability.
WH Smith hopes to stabilise its market share in 2006 and increase it by two per cent by 2008. Other initiatives will include a new till queuing system.
McNally has also called on publishers to help solve the issue of sales-based replenishments, saying that the intention was to “move unsolds from 40 per cent to 28 per cent”.