Nisbets has written to suppliers requesting that payment terms are pushed back by 30 days for any outstanding invoices and future orders.
The letter, signed by group CEO Klaus Goeldenbot and seen by Catering Insight, effectively means suppliers will have to wait another month on top of their usual terms with Nisbets before getting paid.
The Bristol-based company said the business is counting on its “valued suppliers” to continue to provide goods and services that will allow it to avoid disruption to its customers.
“To enable us to do so effectively, we are requesting that for an interim period we are pushing back payment terms by 30 days for any outstanding invoices and future orders,” he stated. “We value your support with this necessary short-term measure and look forward to building on our long-term growth objectives once the Covid-19 impacts have subsided.”
The amendment of payment terms remains an emotive subject at the moment due to its potential impact on supply chains at a time when they are under most stress.
In the operator market, JD Wetherspoon sparked criticism last week by telling suppliers it wouldn’t settle invoices until its pubs had reopened again.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one Nisbets supplier said it was “furious” at being told it would have to wait an extra 30 days to receive payment on goods already shipped.
“What kind of example does it set when the biggest company in the industry is doing this?” said the supplier.
Another supplier who had received the letter said that once the crisis was over, companies would likely re-evaluate who they do business with, but said it had been contacted by a number of dealers – not just Nisbets – requesting payment flexibility or extended terms during these times.
In the note to suppliers, Nisbets – which made sales of almost £400m in its last financial year – reaffirmed that it is “still very much open for business” and its website is fully trading even though its stores have closed.
However, Goeldenbot said sales have taken a significant hit because of the lockdown measures and it is seeing a reduction of demand in some of its categories.
“Our priority remains to get the business safe through these turbulent times, to take care of our employees, continue to service our key customers and to work closely with our supply chain partners so we can bounce back stronger together in the long-term,” he wrote.
Catering Insight contacted Nisbets but it is unable to comment at this time.