JD Wetherspoon tells suppliers it won’t pay them until its pubs reopen

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JD Wetherspoon has told suppliers it does not intend to pay them until its pubs are open for business again.

The request is likely to cause anger and fear among its supply chain as partners face the prospect of not collecting money owed for weeks, if not months.

The 900-strong pub group notified suppliers of the “moratorium” on payments this week in an email understood to be signed by chairman Tim Martin.

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He has promised that the chain will clear outstanding payments, but has not set a timeframe.

A spokesperson for JD Wetherspoon told FEJ the request was designed to help the business get through the crisis and said suppliers were being offered the chance to discuss what is being proposed.

“Wetherspoon has written to suppliers saying that in extraordinary times it is asking suppliers to assist by waiting for payment until the pubs reopen so that the company can carry on.

“Many of the suppliers have been with Wetherspoon for 30 years and the company wants to carry on that relationship for another 30 years. It has given suppliers a contact numbers to call to discuss this further and that it will aim to help out wherever possible.”

The scale of Wetherspoon’s business – worth more than £1.8 billion a year in sales – means the ripples of this will be felt more widely in the market, particularly among those who regard it as a major customer.

Industry leaders have already raised concerns over the impact of payment delays or non-payment on the supply chain during the crisis.

Trade associations FEA and Ceda recently called on the government to ensure that where operator funding is made available there should be a mandatory obligation to ensure that contractual payment obligations are met in order to support the supply chain.

They have also asked for supply chain businesses to have access to funding to bridge the gap caused by non-payment by customers.

10 best soundbites from Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin when he met catering equipment distributors

Tags : coronavirusJD WetherspoonPubs
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour


  1. I used to have high regard for Tim Martin, I admired his maverick nature.

    Now I see him as a bully. It is certain he will force some of his suppliers to the wall in not paying for work ALREADY done.


  2. £50M in profits released March 1st – Now he cant afford to pay staff or suppliers – I am so glad I am not a supplier. Like the gent above said I also held Mr Martin in high regard and listened to what he had to say. Now I think he is now a parasite and not worthy of ever setting foot in his pubs again. My turnover is a 2oth of his profits but I am paying my suppliers and staff – I hope he is ashamed of himself.

  3. I was absolutely horrified to read that Wetherspoons have decided not to pay their creditors until after the pubs re-open! This should not be allowed to happen. It is every MDs duty to make sure that the cash flows as it should do – you have bought something – you pay for it when the invoice is due.

    Can you imagine what would happen to our trade if everyone had this attitude, firstly the supplier would have to lay off staff, the trade that is suppling parts and services to the supplier would not get paid and would have to lay off staff and soon small companies trying desperately to survive and pay their way will have to go into liquidation – is it really ok for someone to sit in an ivory tower and dictate how and when they will pay? It should be in law that you should have to conform to a supplies terms of trading.

    It is going to be a struggle for SMCs to survive, especially if this situation continues for a six month period. I am sat working from home due to my age with a dedicated staff (one in the office and one in the warehouse) taking turns in keeping the business going supplying distributors dealing with hospitals and essential food services with commercial microwave ovens who are feeding the NHS staff to be able to keep going – having to order in, paying for stock in order to keep the supply chain going. I dread to think what would happen if everyone just stop paying each other at the drop of a hat.

    This fight against the virus is critical and everyone should work together to keep things going as best as we can – not just blatantly cut themselves off from reality.

    I just hope all those who may think it’s alright to decide when they want to pay their way to re-think and remember “it is our trade that has made us what we are, so it is everyones duty to keep it revolving”. PLEASE, EVERYONE, PAY YOUR SUPPLIER WHEN YOU SHOULD PAY” and hopefully we will all survive.

    This is the personal feelings of the author and has no reflection on the views of the company.

  4. I am going to buy a pint when they reopen and tell them I will pay them when I go bacvk to work – Lets see how the shoe fits on their foot!!

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