GIMA, the Garden Industry Manufacturer’s Association for the UK, says the Covid-19 lockdown is placing significant and never before seen pressures on the garden retail supply chain. It is calling on retailers to ensure that cash continues to reach suppliers at the time of year when cash is historically tight.
Pre-season deliveries in January and February would traditionally see payments reach suppliers in April and May, but in a world changed by Coronavirus receipt of these payments is not necessarily a given as retailers tighten their belts.
Halting the flow of cash through the supply chain is not the answer
GIMA Director, Vicky Nuttall, said: “The continued closure of garden retailers understandably leads to a need to control expenditure, however, halting the flow of cash through the supply chain is not the answer.
“There is no question that for some suppliers, lack of payment could lead to their untimely demise; something that will be felt across an industry that often sells itself as one that supports one another.
“I urge retailers, on behalf of our members, to support your suppliers as you would your own staff. It’s so important, now more than ever, to speak to your supply customers and not leave them in the dark.
“Please don’t dictate payment terms and definitely don’t take rebates off invoices that have not been taken.”
Vicky Nuttall goes on to say, “Sadly, we’re hearing that some retailers are starting to employ bullying tactics which we deem to be totally unacceptable, and we will not hesitate to publicly call out these retailers should these tactics continue.
“Getting through this difficult time will only be possible if we work together, and thankfully not all retailers are responding negatively. Many are already stepping up to the mark and are actively communicating with their supply partners, and I hope this communication continues to build over the coming weeks - after all, forewarned is forearmed.”
Home delivery and Internet channels
GIMA applauds the entrepreneurial spirit of some retailers that have been quick to adapt to consumer demand by switching to home delivery. But many suppliers are now operating a skeleton staff having furloughed much of their workforce. As a result, GIMA says they may be unable to respond to stock requests as quickly as they normally would.
On the flip side, GIMA calls on retailers not berate companies that have sold into the home delivery and Internet channels.
Vicky Nuttall explains, “Suppliers do not have the benefit of business rates holidays or cash grants. At a time of crisis, it is necessary to take advantage of any opportunities that ensure survival, and presently online sales are the biggest opportunity of all for the supply chain. For most suppliers the income generated from their online customers will help, but it certainly won’t fill the massive void left from the loss of their garden centre trade.”