Highgate newsagent challenges media mogul Rupert Murdoch on newspaper deliveries

16:00 26 March 2012

Owner Ibrahim Kurt busy on Twitter outside Brooksby

Owner Ibrahim Kurt busy on Twitter outside Brooksby's Newsagents in Highgate Village. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

News International chairman Rupert Murdoch has not had the best of years.

He has been vilified for the alleged phone hacking at the News of the World, and was only saved from a facefull of shaving foam by his quick-moving wife Wendi.

Now he faces a new adversary – a Highgate newsagent has denounced the media mogul over his firm’s efforts to get customers to bypass their local shop and buy The Times directly from News International.

Brooksby in High Street, which counts Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and London Mayor Boris Johnson among its customers, says the move is squeezing local shops.

In a Tweet to Mr Murdoch, the store wrote: “We’ve been delivering your papers to #Highgate for years. Why do you feel it necessary to steal our custom?”

Daniel Watkins, assistant manager at Brooksby, told the Ham&High: “We have been trying to contact Rupert Murdoch through his Twitter but, so far, he hasn’t replied.

“It is a difficult time for newsagents at the moment. When our customers are cutting back on their spend the first thing they drop is getting their newspapers delivered and they walk to the newsagent instead.”

Mr Watkins says many of his customers have been visited at home by News International staff offering cut-price subscriptions.

While many of his customers have remained loyal, others have cancelled their daily deliveries and taken up the new, cheaper subs.

Mr Watkins said: “When you order flowers from a big company they send it out to the smaller florists to deliver. That is what we are saying News International should do with us.”

The shop is not optimistic that Mr Murdoch will reply to the Tweets but it is hoped the messages could spur others into action.

Said Mr Watkins: “We aren’t hopeful Murdoch will get in touch, but hopefully other newsagents will see our Tweets and challenge him too.”

Lizzie Unsworth, partner sales manager, News International, said: “News International introduced direct delivery in July 2008 and since then our readers have been able to choose to receive their newspapers from us or from their retailer.

“It was introduced as a result of feedback from our readers. We have a number of sales-driving initiatives in place such as offers on home delivery, and would be happy to discuss these further with the retailer.”

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