News International axes Benjys newspapers trial

News International has axed a trial initiative to sell its newspapers The Sun and The Times through the sandwich chain Benjys, but has given the green light to a distribution arrangement with catering chain Sodexho.

News International provided 45 of the London-based Benjys outlets and 61 of the Sodexho canteens with branded stands holding copies of The Times and The Sun at point of sale. After three months it has pulled the plug on Benjys, but hopes to extend distribution to the rest of Sodexho’s 2,000 staff canteen and restaurant outlets in the new year.

The Times weekday senior brand manager Emma Stevens says: “Sales to date have been good. Not only are we addressing the consumer’s needs but other companies, such as Sodexho, are able to benefit by adding another product to their portfolio.”

She adds that sales at Benjys were good, but it wasn’t where News International wanted to focus.

Outlets run by Sodexho include the Stansted Airport employees’ restaurant, and first class lounges at railway stations such as Paddington.

Benjys commercial director Emma Rickman says that as far as her company was concerned the trial had been successful. She adds: “If Benjys can figure out the route to market it would be interested in carrying out this initiative with another company.”

Benjys is launching new food lines this month, including an “Authentic Chinese Meal” range and fresh baked doughnuts. It is also planning promotional activity with the free daily Metro newspaper.

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