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Monday, 30 May 2011

WH Smiths release Beano Summer Special Exclusive

Despite disappointing sales for past comics exclusives, it seems newsagents WH Smiths haven't given up on the idea. Just released is this Beano Summer Special, produced in partnership with DC Thomson.

Ignoring the misleading claim that this is the first Summer Special - when any fule know Summer Specials were once an integral part of British Comics publishing - this is an impressive-looking A4 size softback book, consisting solely of reprints from, er, past Beano Summer Specials. Over on his great blog, Lew Stringer notes that the strips included feature the work of artists such as Davy Law, Dave Sutherland, Jim Petrie and others.

But sadly it seems WH Smiths - recently getting some of the lowest customer ratings in a high street store poll by Which?, and not for the first time - are up to their usual antics, with fans reporting some stores are not stocking the title and some staff even denying its existence.

This was the same fate that befell the Egmont exclusives in some stores when spcial Misty, Buster, Battle and Roy of the Rovers collections were released, so I do hope this problem isn't endemic across the chain.

Sadly, though, the lack of staff awareness of WH Smiths' own product is an ongoing problem at almost every level of the company. When you complain to a local manager about magazine positioning or availability, they often don't seem to understand your points (or simply can't be bothered); and if you complain to head office they spout platitudes and nothing changes.

It's a terrible shame.

The Beano Sumer Special 'Number One' costs £4.99 and is on sale now.

- Beano Official Site:


Lew Stringer said...

The attitude of retail staff towards comics does seem to be getting worse. My theory is that it's partly due to younger staff members having grown up on the covermount-led activity titles which has given them a sense that all comics are instantly-disposable junk after five minutes of "play value".

Of course that shouldn't prevent them from stocking titles, particularly when customers ask them to. Small wonder that Smiths have introduced more shelf space for pop, sandwiches and chocolate to boost their profits if they can't run their periodical department properly.

John Freeman said...

WH Smiths clearly doesn't appreciate that its Unique Selling Point is its magazines range, NOT pop. sandwiches and chocolate. It probably explains why they are bottom of the Which? Top 100 stores in terms of customer service.

A friend at Morrsions (above WH Smiths in the same list but below ASDA) was hauled in for an hour long meting about customer service and how to improve as soon as the Which? list was published last week - management were clearly disappointed. Let's hope WH Smiths have done the same thing.

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