Tower Systems has been helping small business newsagents deal with pressure from tatts Group on shop fit and new tech requirements through blog posts like this where we publicly serve our small business retailer customers in a confrontation with a major supplier:

Newsagents scared to confront Tatts re small business capital investment demands

While comments on my post yesterday and other posts here about the demands rom Tatts Group re capital investment in a new fit out as well as a new in store digital marketing platform have been minimal, my phone has been running hot.

yesterday alone I received calls from six newsagents about this issue. One was in tears for what the additional cost will mean to their business.

Each caller said they are not responding publicly because of how threatened and vulnerable they feel.

In two cases there is a mental health impact from the pressure they are under that has no business case backing.

My core concerns are, as stated by me many times here:

  1. The tech requirement is, in my opinion, outside the re-fit provisions of the Tatts agreement.
  2. Tatts has provided no financial support or justification for the re-fit capital expenditure.
  3. Tatts has provided no financial justification for the new tech requirements imposed on businesses.
  4. From what I can tell, the main tatts pitch is one of threats to put Tatts into a local competitor business.
  5. Tatts appears to have double standards. One only has to look at what One The Run in Adelaide or the supermarket chains are permitted to do.
  6. Tatts is competing with retailers online in a way that disadvantages small business retailers and disrespects the capex demanded of small business retailers.

What should newsagents do? In my opinion, they should take their case to state based authorities: small business commissioner, small business advocate, VCAT / QCAT / CTTT or anything similar. They should do this without fear of Tatts as those forums exist to hear this type of dispute.

If you can’t afford to do what Tatts demands, tell them, in writing, prove it to them. 

If your mental health is impaired because of the manner in which Tatts and its representatives are dealing with you, write to Tatts about this, explain how it is affecting you personally.

The more informed the company is the better the record of how this massive public company is harming small businesses and those who own them. Your stories will / should ultimately matter.