A NEWSAGENTS which has served Marlovians for over a decade will pack up its papers later this year as the owner admits competition from larger stores and the internet are making business tough.

Bipin Patel and his wife Aruna have run Paper Chain for 12 years and have decided to call it a day when their lease expires in September.

With sales of printed newspapers in decline, Mr Patel admits the sands are shifting and that new businesses must adapt to keep up with the changes in the industry.

And with Waitrose handing out free newspapers to loyalty card holders, he said life will only get more difficult for independent newsagents on high streets up and down the country.

He said: "It certainly doesn’t help, but at the end of the day, whether it’s the leases, rates or competition, it’s always difficult but we have managed quite well and been here quite a long time.

"But it is hard for independent newsagents on the High Street, and for us it was about reassessing the situation.

"We had to sign on the dotted line at the end of the month, it’s not that we’re selling the lease on to someone else.

"People don’t have to buy a paper these days, it is more out of habit or as part of a routine rather than an essential, but it was completely different 12 years ago.

"I can’t see it getting any better for the trade unless people adapt, but I do not want to and luckily we are at a later stage than others."

Mr Patel said loyal customers who have bought their newspapers, sweets and cigarettes from the store over the years have been wishing them good luck after hearing the news.

Waitrose has come under fire from other town centre business since introducing its ‘My Waitrose’ offer of free coffee and newspapers for loyalty card holders.

But the supermarket giant insists it is doing nothing different than a hairdresser or nail bar, which may offer its customers complimentary drinks and papers.

Spokesman Hannah Chance said: "What we hope is that by running a business that customers really like, we attract more people to the local area who - as well as shopping with us - will bring increased trade for other businesses.

"We also work very hard to have a positive effect on life in the communities where we trade, both in terms of creating rewarding jobs and contributing to local good causes."