Partworks on a request-only basis

There is continued discussion about the problem of Partworks with a number of agents saying their solution is to keep any new Partworks series at the back of store (no display) and if a customer requests a particular Partwork they may have seen advertised then the agent advises customers they cannot guarantee ongoing supply but are happy to sell on those conditions. This way the newsagent is not in the firing line when parts of the series are unavailable.

Here is an excerpt from a long and angry letter (Over 800 words. but newsagents will know the story. It clearly illustrates why newsagents have a problem with Partworks. And, it should illustrate why something needs to be done if Partworks are to get any display space in newsagencies in 2015.

THE SCENE:Usual failure to supply partworks when customers have ordered copies…

do I sound angry, well maybe it’s because my staff and myself have spent countless hours copping abuse and giving the same lame explanation for the past 3+ months.  We also have customers that are upset because they are trying to support us, but due to the terrible ‘service’ (let alone missing the chance for the extras offered with subscriptions) they can’t continue coming in and hounding us!!!!

If only it was just for this particular partwork …but we have had the same issue with many others including Dora the Explorer Cooks Collection and Military Watches.

Military Watches – you were notified again on 7th Aug that we required 12 (we were only receiving 4), we could have sold far more than 12 but we encouraged customers to subscribe, as we could see what was happening within a few short weeks!  We are now reduced to 8 standing orders…  Issue 10 came in yesterday – we received 4!!…….

Do not wonder why so many agents are now not giving partworks any space on their retail floor!!   Ours goes out to the back room, if a customer sees it advertised and enquires we then advise we do have Part 1 but due to previous supply issues with the majority of partworks over the past 12 months we prefer not to sell them anymore, unless the customer is happy to roll with the chance of not getting a regular supply with us.

 Now if you can take what I have said on board, and excuse me as I have some retailing to do ……. Christmas stock (100% mark up, set it up/sell it/ no grief), Tattslotto ….. sell thousands of dollars worth a week and have lots of fun doing it!!

Magazines= time/wages…. to print labels/unpack magazines/label magazines/put out magazines/take off returns/scan in returns/top magazine returns/box up magazine returns/pay for boxes to returned 50klms away/ tidy magazines

Sue Sherriff, newsXpress George Town





7 thoughts on “Partworks on a request-only basis

  1. So where is the ANF?

    We have had magazine supply issues for decades and all we get is platitudes from our National Body.

    Do bother posting on a blog mate – get off your collectives and get into a few board rooms and make a difference!



  2. On the 3rd of November I sent the email pasted below to GG Customer Service. Ten Days later I received a reply saying my email had been forwarded to the Partworks manager. It is now 12 days since that email was received and I am yet to get a response from the Partworks manager.

    I do offer a solution at the bottom of the email, whether it is feasible or not I don’t know because nobody at GG seems to be interested in talking to me or fixing the problem. I’ve been a newsagent for 15 years and partworks have been a problem for all of those 15 years, and more no doubt. If distributors cannot, or do not want to, hear what newsagents a saying then Partworks will disappear. They will not survive as subscription only with out being launched through newsagencies first.

    Dean Scott, Subiaco Square Newsagency, WA

    Hello G&G Customer Service,

    Would you please pass this email up the chain so that I can get the answers I require.

    Currently I have 3 customers that have ordered Sovereign of the Seas but only receive 2 of each issue. I allocate these two issues to the first two customers that placed their standing orders.
    The third customer is waiting for ten issues to arrive, all of which I have on back order. (Parts 17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34)

    My standing order is 3 but as there is not enough stock coming into the country I still receive two each week. Customer Service tells me there are no returns coming back to fulfil back orders. By Christmas I could have more than 16 on back order.

    This far into a partwork you know sales are not going to increase and you know how many you sell/distribute of each part. After, say, part 8 you should know what is needed and have them coming in from the UK, there is not going to be an increase in sales after part 8..

    My questions:
    1) How is it that there are not enough issues coming into Australia, especially now we are past part 30?
    2) Why does it take more than four weeks to get supply from the UK.
    3) When will I receive my back orders?

    I have been in contact with my customer today to let her know of the situation. I told her that she will definitely get each part but I can tell her when. The good thing from my point of view is that she said “if they don’t come in they’ll have to give me my money back for the ones I’ve got.” So, although frustrated, she is not blaming me and she still wants them. Her concern is that it will be quite a lot of money to pay when they all do come in. While I did not want charge her each week for something she is not receiving, she has agreed to come in and pay for some of the back orders. However, with Christmas coming up she will not be doing this for some weeks she says. She is not a regular newsagency customer and only comes in for the Sovereign of the Seas so she will have to make a special effort to come in and hand over money each week without making a purchase.

    So that is my current situation. Secretly I was hoping she would say forget it and I could then cancel the back orders.

    I’m sure you have heard it before but…. When supply meets demand Partworks are a golden goose, when demand is not met Partworks are time consuming and costly..

    The solution as I see it.

    Before a new part work is launched newsagents should be told about it and advised what their quantities will be for the first 5 issues. They should have the ability to adjust quantities up or down as they see fit. Once part 4 has hit the shelves newsagents know how many they will continue to sell. Newsagents will be supplied up to part 8 as distributor sees reasonable (using data from XChangeIt where available) but after part 4 has been distributed an email from the distributor will be circulated asking Newsagents to “Opt in” to receive Parts 9 onwards, and advise the quantity required. No newsagents will receive part 9 onwards unless they opt in. Sale or return should still be offered but minimal returns would be expected. The distributor would know exactly how many to have in the warehouse and know what needs to be ordered, if any, from the UK. Newsagents would get the supply they need and customers would not have to wait more than 4 weeks to receive a back order. Win, Win, Win.

    Please let me know what you think of this idea.

    Kind regards,

    Dean Scott
    Subiaco Square Newsagency


  3. The ANF has spoken with G&G and Network re Partworks on numerous occasions (as has every newsagent) and they then shift the blame to the publishers and in the end the importer of these Partworks does not care two hoots about the newsagents’ issues. Because Partworks is a lucrative category they just keep up their unconscionable practices.
    The ANF is working with the MPA to try to effect change. Maybe in 2015??

    And Dean, your solution is one to be considered… will pass it up the line.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Implement Dean’s solution in January 2015.

      Shift the talk to action and utilize the technology we pay for and communicate with on a daily basis. Also, maybe the distributors could keep some ‘safety’ stock for customer serviceability.

      Good solution with the main point being we know how many we are going to be supplied so we do not over commit and then have disappointed customers who wait long periods of time for back orders or have incomplete sets.


      • Network is looking into Dean’s suggestion but have noted that it is a bit more complicated.
        It would be hard for newsagents to determine demand before the launch and then many newsagents don’t participate in setting supply.
        It is important that newsagents get a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes to get Partworks out, so we will be looking at this in detail in National Newsagent in February. This issue will be about solutions because Partworks can be a profitable category and it is to everyone’s benefit if it works as efficiently as possible.
        Distributors say they hold no stock back perhaps they should.


      • Just do it. It’s not that hard. Gordon and Gotch should be able to do it as well.

        Let us know what we are getting so we do not over commit. Do not worry about us setting allocations, set the allocations based on your criteria and communicate them. Also, communicate if any stock availability.

        Communication is the key.


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