The three largest newspaper and magazine distributors are in talks to create a nationwide delivery network for clothes, books and CDs. Sunday Times

Smiths News, John Menzies and Dawson Holdings want to persuade retailers to use local newsagents as drop-off points for bulky goods that have been purchased over the internet. Consumers could collect items there instead of at a post office.

The three are looking at ways to diversify their income and grow the top line as newspaper and magazine volumes decline.

Smiths News, spun out of WH Smith, is leading the project. It has 44 distribution centres in England and Wales. Menzies is dominant in Scotland.