Britain’s biggest retailers took longer to pay their suppliers in 2013 than the previous year, according to a report by the Telegraph.
The study of the top 25 listed retailers shows that the number of days it took to pay suppliers grew from an average of 40 to 42 last year, with Asos, Debenhams and Mothercare among the worst offenders.
Ten retailers cut the number of days it took to pay creditors, but Asos increased trade creditor days from 43 in 2012 to 59 in 2013 and Debenhams took 60 days to pay suppliers last year, twice as long as Marks & Spencer.
The report follows the publication of letters from Debenhams and John Lewis last year that showed the retailers demanding discounts from their suppliers.
Debenhams ordered its suppliers accept a 2.5% discount on goods just seven days before Christmas. Simon Herrick, who has now stepped down from his role as chief financial officer, said in a letter at the time: “As we will mutually benefit from the growth of Debenhams we are now seeking a contribution from our suppliers to support our commitment to ongoing investment.”
The company that paid suppliers the fastest was Mulberry, according to the Telegraph, whose average payment time was just 15 days. Marks & Spencer was second with trade creditor days of 24.
Meanwhile, Tesco and Sainsbury’s didn’t disclose information on how long they took to pay their suppliers.
The research was based on the creditor payment days reported by retailers in their annual report for 2013.