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USA Today Exploits Airport Customers

Beginning December 17th, the cover price of a single copy of USA Today will be hiked up 33% to $1–but only in airport stores. Several retailers as well as airport managers have expressed their disapproval of the price hike, particularly in light of the strident efforts made over the years to implement and promote street pricing.

In a letter sent to airport retailers the company did not give a reason for its decision but one retailer stated, “USA Today’s reason for this airport-only price increase was based on sales information from their last retail increase, which indicated the only market that did not have a sales decrease was the airport market. The retailer further states that the increase, “will unfairly gouge the traveling public, create an impression of taking advantage of a captured customer, and cause much distress to our hourly sales associates who will feel the brunt of the customer dissatisfaction.”

Some property managers have said they will post signs disclaiming responsibility for the price increase. Another said it will require the price to stay at 75 cents regardless.

“This is unprecedented,” says a former newspaper distributor. “If they [USA Today] picked just the airport environment to hike the price that is troublesome. If it was a geographical decision because the location is farther outside their zones, then they have an argument. But they have singled out airports as a business unit so they’re going to have a big fight on their hands.”

More to follow on this breaking story.