Ages ago, long before this blog was born, I did another blog about trade associations and corporate websites. I kept meaning to transfer at least bits of it over here, so everything was all in one place, but I never really got round to it. I thought I’d do it now, because I can’t be bothered to write anything new. Here is the second one (it’s a couple of years old, so the links might not work).

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents. Aren’t all newsagents retail newsagents? What other sort of newsagents are there? Do you get wholesaler newsagents? I guess you must do. I’ve never really considered that before, but the newsagents must get their papers and magazines from somewhere, I suppose. OK, wholesaler newsagents can fuck right off. This federation is for retail newsagents only.

Simple, almost boring, website design. I’m a little bit surprised they didn’t go with a sort of newspapery look, but maybe that would have looked rubbish, so actually, well done, NFRN. As agents of news, it’s not too surprising that they have a news section on the front page. The top story there, with the catchy headline CADBURY AIMS TO HIT THE MARK WITH ON PACK PROMOTION had, at the time of writing, “been read 2 times”, although it was only posted today. The second story, about an uplift in sales of roll your own (RYO) tobacco in Wales has been read an impressive 21 times in three days (though possibly two or three of those were me).

The NFRN has ten key objectives:

To assist, practically support and encourage members in running financially successful businesses.
To provide value to members through relevant advice, support, benefits and legal assistance.
To provide pastoral care to members
To represent members interests and promote positive legislation and trading conditions.
To provide training and development to both members and staff to meet the changing needs off the marketplace.
To provide leadership through the effective involvement and communication with members.
To grow and develop Federation membership.
To maintain a structure relevant to the needs of members in a changing marketplace.
To maximise the external profile of the Federation to the benefit of the organisation and its members.
To maintain a sound financial base to meet the Federations’ objectives.

Provide pastoral care? OK. Also, does it make sense that one of the ten key objectives is to maintain a sound financial base to meet the ten key objectives? Doesn’t that mean that really they’ve only got nine key objectives. Come on, NFRN, get one more key objective! They could borrow one from the British Sandwich Association. “To provide a source of support and information for members”. There you go.

Objectives are one thing, but the NFRN also offers practical advice to its members, such as information on getting the basics of your shop right. The checklist doesn’t seem all that helpful though:

Your key categories
Assessing your shop
Understanding your area
Stocking the right lines
Merchandising to maximise sales
Getting the right shop layout
Have you got the right equipment
Training for you and your staff
Operating systems
Working with suppliers

There’s no real information there. “Stocking the right lines”, well obviously that’s important but how do I know what the right lines are? “Have you got the right equipment?” I don’t know! I don’t know what equipment you need! A till, obviously. An Oyster top-up machine. One of those Paypoint things. Some fridges, one of those freezers for icecreams. What other equipment is there? One of those machines outside which sell gobstoppers and little toys in plastic balls. Oh, a lottery machine. Anything else? I think that’s everything.

Much of the content is restricted to members only, which is a shame, so I can’t see what they have to say about fixtures and fittings, shop design or the increasing importance of chilled and frozen foods. Is it really true that 31% of the population keep a stock of lager at home? They say “only 31%”, that looks a bit high to me, but what do I know? Blimey, it’s £4.50 A WEEK to join the NFRN! Plus VAT! The NFRN magazine better be good.

The comedian, writer, musician and philanthropist Tony Hawks presented the awards at the fifth annual NFRN awards in October. Ian Scott sounds like a deserving winner of the News Deliverer of the Year Award after rescuing two pensioners from a burning house. Congratulations, Ian Scott! I wonder how they pick the winners in other years though. Do they just hope that at some point during the year, a paperboy somewhere in the country will save someone from something.

I bet Ian Scott started that fire just to secure the NFRN News Deliverer of the Year Award. I know your game, Ian Scott, you can’t fool me.


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