25 August 2009 | Allie Anderson
Debenhams has lengthened payment times for a number of its smaller suppliers.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, the department store chain has requested an additional five days' grace, which takes payment periods from 60 to 65 days.
A Debenhams spokesman refused to confirm the figures but told supplymanagement.com there was a "very small number" of its SME vendors who currently get paid more quickly than others. These organisations were informed last month that payment terms were going to be standardised.
Debenhams said in a statement: "We have written to a minority of suppliers who do not comply with the company's minimum standard payment terms to ask them to do so. Payment terms remain the same for the majority of suppliers."
It is the latest in a long line of retailers to demand improved terms from suppliers during the economic downturn.
In the past two weeks, Carlsberg UK extended payment times from 62 to 95 days (Web news, 14 August) and the Co-op Group apparently asked suppliers to slash prices by up to 10 per cent (Web news, 18 August).