Sunderland newsagents say the Echo is their bread and butter

Newsagents on Ethel Terrace, Castletown.
Newsagents on Ethel Terrace, Castletown.
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NEWSAGENTS believe local news is a vital ingredient in their day-to-day success.

Independent newsagents across Wearside sell hundreds of copies of the Echo and other papers every day and bosses say that without the footfall readers bring, their sales could drop dramatically.

Many such shops are in direct competition with larger chains like The Co-operative and Spar and feel that in some cases, the local paper is the main thing bringing customers through the door.

At the family-run Hylton News on Hylton Road in Pennywell, 21-year-old manager Muhammad Rafi is certain that the impact of the loss of the Echo would be felt.

He said: “If it was to go, the loss of business would be significant. That’s one of the papers people come in for, in fact it’s mainly the reason they come.

“If they didn’t come in to get their paper, they’d buy their milk and other things at the bigger shops. It’s only really busy here because of the paper.”

As Muhammad spoke a customer came in and bought the paper, along with lottery tickets and sweets for her young son.

“She’s come in there for the paper and got her lottery ticket and sweets for her kid,” said Muhammad. “That’s all extra for us.”

It is a sentiment shared by many in the industry, including Janet Branney, who runs a small newsagents with her husband on Ethel Terrace, in Castletown.

While Janet, 57, was more optimistic about a hypothetical life without the Echo, it was not something she liked to contemplate.

She said: “I think we’d survive but I wouldn’t like to think about not having it to sell.

“You always associate the newsagents with the Echo, don’t you?”

Janet’s shop has been in business for 33 years and she believes the paper is very important to many in the community, especially some of her elderly customers for whom it is their only link with rest of the city.

“We deliver about 400 a day,” she said.

“I really think the elderly rely on it.

“In the days before the Co-op, if it ever arrived late, you’d have everyone queuing up outside waiting for it to come in.”

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