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Waitrose looking at paying smaller suppliers quicker

| International retailers

Waitrose is reportedly looking to speed up payments to small suppliers following an internal assessment that found it was taking three times longer than Tesco to pay some of its invoices.

According to The Times, the retailer has instigated a review, led by Matthew Frost, Director of Commercial Operations, into how it treats and pays suppliers as part of moves to simplify its terms of payment. The report added that completion of review is likely to take several months. 

The mistreatment of suppliers has risen up the political agenda following the accounting scandal that rocked Tesco towards the end of 2014 with allegations emerging that the retailer had delayed paying some suppliers, breaching industry guidelines. Since then Tesco has pledged to deliver a simpler and “fairer” business model for suppliers, by standardising its payment terms and settling bills from small and medium-sized firms quicker. Last October, the retailer announced that smaller suppliers, who deliver less than £100,000 worth of products in a year, will be paid within 14 days. Medium-sized suppliers, who delivered up to £10m in product value per year, also now have their accounts settled five days quicker than larger suppliers in their category. 

One unnamed supplier told The Times: “I used to be on 60 days with Tesco, but now I am on 14 days . . . I am on 45 days with Waitrose and it nearly kills me sometimes.”

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