This article is for the Professionals
Sign up to Inside Retail Professional now for only $5+GST for your first three months.
That's an 85% discount plus you’ll get FREE access to all Masterclasses during Retail Week. 5 retail industry leaders like you’ve never seen them before.Already a professional? Log in
“We have the privilege of having not only local customers, but holiday makers and many day-trippers as well,” Nigro told Inside Retail.
The pair previously operated a Tatts and Giftware shop in Torquay and prior to that, they were the youngest Victorian owners of an authorised newsagency in Lower Templestowe, Victoria which they operated for five years when they started their family.
Corrine Nigro says the ‘shop local’ trend has never been so strong as now and it has prompted them to widen their range of local products.
“We are proud to have increased our locally produced and Australian made products and that we’re supporting local artists and designers and have incorporated these items with the traditional newsagency products,” she said.
“Community support has peaked!”
As an essential business, Anglesea News & Lotto has remained open throughout lockdowns and Nigro says sales have been up during these periods.
“Our sales have increased – in particular locally-made goods, office and school supplies and services, outdoor adventure products as well as local maps, books and guides,” she said.
There are approximately 3000 independent, family-owned news and lottery agents in Australia, according to The Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA), and the industry employs more than 15,000 people.
ALNA CEO Ben Kearney told Inside Retail that the local shopping trend is particularly noticeably in regional and high street stores.
“The resurgence in local shopping has helped many and this is something we hope will be a continued change,” he said.
Kearney praised the “tenacity and strength” of newsagents who are constantly reinventing themselves to better serve the public.
“We fought very hard to keep the majority of our members open through lockdowns, but for many, there have been periods of time with less customers and like all retailers, they have had to offer new services and new products to adapt, and with being open as essential, they have not attracted the same level of assistance from governments either,” he said.
“Customers’ needs are constantly changing and so are our businesses, and we have had to provide solutions to the needs of more people working and learning from home and fill gaps in the market that aren’t being filled.”
Categories on the rise at newsagents include gifts, homewares, toys, games, puzzles, stationery and office essentials, while some businesses are also adding other service offerings such as coffee, flowers, books and dry cleaning.
Accessibility of print media
Newsagents also play a pivotal role in the accessibility of print publications such as newspapers and magazines. Kearney believes there’s still “plenty of life left” in print media, as long as the customer experience of reading a printed newspaper or magazine continues to be promoted and reinforced.
“Newsagents are critical for print media to survive as they are the specialists in this medium, and while their businesses are changing rapidly and print over time might be less important as a category for them, it is still a popular product,” Kearney said.
“We have seen books rebound after long periods of decline and we think the physicality of printed media is still attractive to consumers. So while it may be a more specialised offer, it will still remain an attractive one in most newsagents for a long time to come.”
Vaccinations give hope
Anglesea News & Lotto is hopeful that newsagents will continue to survive and thrive, despite the challenges of ever-changing government guidelines and regulations.
“Most people do the right thing and if we continue to work together, support and respect each other, we will get through this better and stronger,” she said.
Nigro said she supports the idea of vaccine passports and believes they will have part to play in moving forward.
“We are not in the retail business to question or refuse service and we hope all people who can be vaccinated will do so to help strengthen the local, state and national economy and give us a bright future for our children and grandchildren and beyond.”