Suppliers hit as supermarkets take longer to pay their bills

Dutch supermarkets are now paying their suppliers between two and four times more slowly than they did seven years ago, according to new research by the Financieele Dagblad

This means the stores chains have hundreds of millions of euros to play with, the FD says.

‘We are paying for the takeovers made by supermarkets,’ said one supplier who requested anonymity for fear of repercussions. ‘Supermarkets have made a business model from their manner of paying suppliers,’ said another.

A third, a producer of foodstuffs, said innovation is endangered by payments which are too late. ‘Small suppliers face bankruptcy,’ he told the FD.

The legal payments deadline established in 2013 is 30 days, but since last summer the biggest companies have established a deadline of 60 days.

Both Jumbo and Coop, two supermarket chains which have grown rapidly through acquisitions in the past several years, deny they have lengthened terms of payment in order to finance their expansion.

75 days

The FD investigation revealed that Jumbo paid its suppliers an average of 32 days after being billed in 2011. But Jumbo’s payment date is an average of 75 days at present.

Family-owned Jumbo is the second-largest chain in the Netherlands with 2017 revenues of more than €7bn. It said that the payment dates of two of its most recent acquisitions, Super de Boer and C1000, were longer than its own. In most cases the same suppliers were involved, Jumbo said.

Market leader Albert Heijn was not included in the FD survey because parent Ahold Delhaize publishes no separate annual report for the supermarket to analyse.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation