Phoenix halts imports of foreign newspapers
The sale of foreign newspapers on the island is to end after 90 years, it was revealed yesterday.
George Grundmuller, president and chief executive of the Phoenix Stores group, said its Phoenix Express arm, which imported papers from around the globe, will supply its last delivery to customers at the end of the month.
Mr Grundmuller said the importation of newspapers was no longer viable in an age of electronic communication, but that no jobs would be lost as Phoenix Express staff would be redeployed elsewhere in the group.
He added: “The way news is delivered now has changed dramatically and more and more people are consuming their news online.”
He pointed out that people could get their international news on their smartphones.
Mr Grundmuller said: “You do not have to go into a shop any more to pick up a paper.”
Phoenix Express, the only importer of newspapers to Bermuda, supplied newspapers from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Jamaica and the Azores.
Mr Grundmuller said: “We feel sorry that we have to close the business after over 90 years of importing newspapers to the island, but times are changing, especially in the newspaper business
“We would like to thank all customers for their support over the years and we hope that they will continue to support us in our stores.”
He recommended that people get online subscriptions to continue getting the news from their favourite overseas papers.
He added: “Some people will probably be disappointed about it, but we have been losing money in the newspaper business for the last two to three years.”
Mr Grundmuller said: “Our newspaper business has declined substantially over the last ten years to a point now where it is just not viable any more.”
He added the sale of foreign papers had suffered a massive decline over the years from more than 4,000 papers a day to just about 200 papers now.
He added: “I remember in the old days when we brought in a truck load of newspapers everyday — thousands of them.
“Now we have just a few hundred.”
Mr Grundmuller said: “The papers are already fairly expensive. Seventy-five per cent of the price of the paper in Bermuda is easily freight charges to get it to the island.”
He added that importation of newspapers also became more difficult after the 2001 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Mr Grundmuller said: “I remember the days when our trucks just drove up to the aircraft in New York and delivered bundles of newspapers.”
He said because of increased security, newspapers had to be at the airport at least four hours before the planes left.
Newspapers sold by Phoenix Express included The Sun, Daily Mail, Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Times from the UK and The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Post, and USA Today from the US.