In the wake of several campaigns aimed at improving payment terms from large supermarkets to their suppliers, Waitrose has become the latest major retailer to commit to a seven day payment schedule.
According to the supermarket’s commercial director, Mark Williamson: “The internal review of how we pay our smallest suppliers was initiated because we wanted to make our good relationships with small suppliers even better by simplifying the payment process.”
The move is expected to benefit around 600 food suppliers, who will now be paid within a week of submitting an electronic invoice. Qualifying businesses will be limited to those invoicing the supermarket for less than £100,000 in a year.
“We are passionate about supporting and nurturing British producers – and this step will help give smaller scale businesses, including new start-ups, more financial stability by helping with cash flow,” Williamson said.
Waitrose’s move will be welcomed by small business groups, given the concern over payment terms that has intensified in recent years. A survey conducted by the Groceries Code Adjudicator in the middle of last year revealed that as many as 70% of suppliers to the UK’s biggest supermarkets had faced ill treatment in ways that breached the industry’s code. These included late payments, high charges for packaging and disputes over payment.