Suppliers of JD Wetherspoon will be paid for invoices due at the end of March after all – but face a nervous wait to see if bills which fall in April and beyond are honoured.
Last week, the 900-strong chain told suppliers it did not intend to pay them until its pubs are open for business again.
Chairman Tim Martin said the “moratorium” was needed to help the business through the coronavirus crisis and pledged to clear outstanding payments once it was over.
However, the move provoked criticism from outsiders and has left suppliers fearing for the damage it could do to their own businesses.
This morning it emerged that the chain has sent an email to suppliers reassuring them that March invoices would be settled.
Sustainability website Footprint reported that the pub chain said in the email that clarification from the government on its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme had “greatly helped our financial planning. As a result, we will be paying invoices that are due for payment on Monday March 30, more or less on time.”
But it added that while the letter will provide a lifeline for some suppliers, there was no guarantee that invoices submitted in March for April payment will be met.
“We’re still not sure about the position for March invoices. We will be working on this in the next few days and weeks,” the email read.
A spokesperson for JD Wetherspoon told FEJ last week that the moratorium 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.”