Interested in being a supplier to M&S?

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Interested in being a supplier to M&S?

“Screw the Supplier” This expression has been around buying and selling since time immemorial.

It has raised its head again with Marks & Spencer sending a letter this week to its clothes vendors informing them that it would be delaying payments to them from 60 days after receipt of goods to 75 days (reported in The Times – Juliet Samual September 7th 2013).  Graham Ruddick (The Daily Telegraph – September 10th 2013 reported that Marc Bolland, M&S Chief Executive, defended the payment decision, claiming it is “win-win”, adding:

“It is a longer time but they get better guarantees from M&S”. 

By any stretch of the imagination this comment (if accurate) is breath taking.

It also highlights the inequity of large firms taking advantage of those with less negotiating power.  It can also be criticised from a strategic point of view.  It is widely accepted that M&S has not been the leading clothes brand for a time.

If you were a supplier with an exciting range of clothing, would you offer it to M&S?  We think not.

However, there is little doubt that many M&S supplies will simply roll-over and comply with the new payment terms. We always try to predict the next move.  Let us predict that 120 days payment terms will be attempted in the near future (it is not an unknown tactic in retailing), unless M&S deny any plans to extend the 75 days!

We have one question for M&S:

Who, in your organisation, has conducted a risk analysis of the financial position of your suppliers?



About Brian Farrington

Brian Farrington is one of the world’s longest established procurement and supply chain consultancy and executive training specialists. 33 of the current FTSE100 have retained our services, as well as leading organisations in the UK, North America, southern Africa and Asia.

Established in 1978, we have proven expertise and experience in strategic procurement and risk management.

Brian Farrington solutions and services are formed through consultancy, training & development, coaching, interim resource and recruitment.

Our four core areas of purchasing, risk and proposals capability are:

•Strategic review and commercial governance

•Performance delivery and transition

•Major project support including managing contractual risk

•Learning & development in support of organisational aims.

For more details Ray Gambell can be reached at on 01744 20698 and email