Arcadia suppliers see cut in credit insurance
A major credit insurer has cut back on the cover it will give for Arcadia suppliers, according to a newspaper on Sunday. Euler Hermes has reportedly written to clients in the past fortnight saying that it will reduce the value of goods that it’s prepared to cover.
That means the risk for suppliers between the point that goods leave their facilities and arrive on the shopfloor is increased. Credit insurance is a crucial factor in any agreement between a supplier and retailer as it acts as a guarantee the supplier will be paid.
If credit insurance amounts are reduced or removed, it means that suppliers are more likely to demand payment upfront or to refuse to supply the retailer concerned.
There is no suggestion that the situation has gone that far at Arcadia, which owns the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Evans, Wallis and Dorothy Perkins chains. However, any reduction in the amounts insured could mean a headache for Arcadia and are also a reflection of the tough times on the high-street and the lack of confidence in the fashion retail sector’s short-term prospects.
Other retailers who have seen their credit terms tightened of late include Debenhams and Paperchase.
And while some companies on the verge of administration have also seen issues with credit insurance, Arcadia remains hugely profitable. In its last set of filed results last year, its holding company Taveta Investments reported sales of almost £2 billion and while profits almost halved, they were still close to £107 million.
Euler Hermes said it had "no knowledge of current financial performance as the group does not share up-to-date management information".
But the Sunday Times reported that it plans to cut cover in half and said another major insurer, Coface, has cut cover for Arcadia suppliers by about two-thirds. Coface hasn’t commented on that claim.
A source close to Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green told the newspaper that insurers were cutting cover "across the whole sector".
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