Monocle blames Brexit for continental print switch

By Jo Francis, Friday 01 February 2019

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Monocle magazine is moving production from the UK to Germany due to concerns that Brexit could affect the distribution of the title.

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Monocle: shock decision to move printing from Walstead Roche

The luxe magazine has been printed at Wyndeham Roche in Cornwall for a number of years and is known for its use of special papers and binding techniques.

According to its latest ABC certificate the monthly title has a circulation of 84,368 of which 72,268 copies go to readers outside the UK and Ireland. The actual print run is around 120,000.

In an interview with Bloomberg, chairman and editor-in-chief Tyler Brûlé said concerns about a no-deal Brexit, and potential disruption to logistics as a result, had spurred the decision.

He told Bloomberg: “There just isn’t much of a plan in this country… People are like ‘Oh well, it might work, let’s see what happens,’ and we can’t afford to do that. We wanted to make sure we felt confident we had a plan.”

Walstead Group chief executive Paul Utting said he was deeply disappointed with the surprise decision, and said that he disagreed with Brûlé’s assertions.

“Rarely has an issue [Brexit] vexed everyone so much,” Utting stated.  

“In general I would agree that the country is insufficiently prepared for Brexit and for a no-deal Brexit in particular. However, it is far too much of a generalisation to say that ‘…people are like oh well it might work, let’s see what happens….’ This may be the view of the hard Brexit element of the Conservative party, but it is not the view of businesses up and down the country who are doing everything they can to minimise disruption to supply chains and to enable them to continue to serve customers after we have left the European Union,” Utting told PrintWeek.

“For instance, in the case of Monocle magazine Walstead Group has extensive disaster recovery plans to deal with any potential issues including production in our European locations as this would eliminate the risks of any short-term delays in European distribution. This case shows us that, in order to minimise the impact of Brexit, businesses need to work closely with partners to find solutions rather than making plans unilaterally to the detriment of UK businesses especially when well-thought-out plans are in place,” he added.

Monocle will move to Neef & Stumme in Wittingen from the April issue, which prints in March. It runs four 16pp Goss M600 web presses, as well as sheetfed and digital printing kit.

The company, then called Neef & Stumme Premium Printing, went bust last summer and emerged from insolvency in December when its assets were sold to a newco, Neef & Stumme, and it formed a partnership with fellow German printer TSB.  

Utting said he would be sad to see Monocle leave the group after more than five years of completely uninterrupted printing.

“It’s one of the most demanding magazines we produce with its use of different papers and binding methods. It pushes print in a way print needs to be pushed in today’s environment by making print as attractive a medium as possible, and a lot of expertise has gone into producing it,” he said.

“I’m a great admirer of the magazine and will be sad to see it go.”

Monocle formed part of Roche's award-winning entry in last year's PrintWeek Awards.  

 

 

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