Travis Perkins chief operating officer for trade merchanting, Frank Elkins, wrote to suppliers last month saying: “With colleagues working from home during this Covid environment, managing weekly payments runs has become impossible. Therefore, as part of simplifying procedures and our ongoing commitment to improve our accounts payable processes, I am writing to advise you that we are reducing down the number of payment terms we offer to our suppliers and will be only adhering to these terms moving forward.”
He said that the changes would mean "an average of 35 days depending on invoice date".
One affected supplier told us: “They are seeking to change the payment terms without any discussion with their suppliers and use their size to bully small businesses but giving Covid as the reason – we aren’t being giving a choice.”
They added: “Blame Covid – that’s a lame excuse. Hold on to their money more like.”
A Travis Perkins spokesperson said: "We remain committed to our suppliers and have not changed our payment terms. We have simply reduced the number payment runs in the month from four to two. To ensure the safety of our colleagues and customers, those colleagues in our business who can work remotely are now doing so. As a result, some of our processes are proving more challenging, including payment runs. This is why we have decided to implement a reduced number of these."