28 September 2016 | 17 °C

Evening Standard No Longer Free In Some Parts

Evening Standard No Longer Free In Some Parts

Photo / tezzer57

The Guardian has uncovered evidence that the Evening Standard is once again being sold in some parts of London. Newsagents in north-west London are being permitted to charge a discretionary fee for the paper, which dropped its cover price last October and effectively killed off the competition in the process.

Just what has prompted this about-turn in the paper's strategy? Are Geordie Greig and co worried by the stiff challenge from hard-hitting new rival The London Weekly? Nope, it's all about supply and demand. The new Standard has been criticised for failing to offer the cross-town distribution of old, and according to the president of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, people in the habit of coughing up a shiny silver 50p for the paper are happy to continue doing so, if it guarantees that a copy will be in stock ready for pickup after a post-prandial stroll.

If this is a win for customers in the capital's nether regions, it's also a boon for newsagents themselves: some have been paying up to 2p per copy to stock it as a loss leader.

The news may pump a little more oxygen into the conspiracy theory that the Standard's bold gamble to go free was a short-term strategy designed to bludgeon its competitors, and that once the battlefield was clear, the price point would swiftly return.

Last Updated 01 June 2016

Dean Nicholas

Article by Dean Nicholas | 2,338 articles | View Profile | Twitter