Economist off Smith's shelves

The Economist has been removed from newsstands in more than 500 WHSmith shops over a contractual dispute between the publisher and retailer.

Neither side was willing to give details of the row over terms for stocking the publication. A spokesperson for WHSmith said it was "due to a breakdown in terms and negotiations between the parties but, because it is a commercial dispute, we can give no more details."

WHSmith delisted the title two weeks ago, taking it off its high street store shelves, but it remains available in its 127 travel outlets — including its shops at airports and railway stations.

The WHSmith spokeswoman added: "We are still in conversation with them but our position hasn't changed."

A spokeswoman for The Economist said: "Talks with WHSmith are ongoing.

We would never discuss terms as that is between WHSmith and The Economist. However, we are continuing to talk with a view to finding acceptable terms for both parties."

The dispute will not help new editor John Micklethwait's ambition to continue the steep sales rises enjoyed by his predecessor Bill Emmott, who had said that he wanted to double global circulation again in the next 10 years.

UK newsstands account for around 40,000 sales of the weekly news title.

Its last ABC figures were up over 5 per cent to 514,124 for worldwide sales excluding the Americas, and over one million worldwide.

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