Print Industry mulls the fall-out from Arcadia and Debenhams and the folly of not chasing overdue payment

Print Industry mulls the fall-out from Arcadia and Debenhams and the folly of not chasing overdue payment

The collapse of Arcadia won’t just hit the high street, but will have a fall-out far beyond the shop doors. Manufacturers of clothing, hauliers, shop fitters and designers and of course garment suppliers to name but a few – but there are other industries that will take a hit like sign makers and printers.

Print Week

Writing in the trade journal Print Week Jo Francis reported: “Arcadia’s collapse into administration appears likely to leave its remaining print suppliers out of pocket, although some had already stopped printing for the troubled group and there are hopes that printers will have limited exposure because of its well-documented problems. The group's administration is also likely to mean the end of the line for Debenhams, which is now expected to go into liquidation after JD Sports withdrew its bid for the business.

“Arcadia has 444 stores of its own as well as hundreds of concessions, and was the biggest concession operator at Debenhams. The two companies employ 25,000 people, and there are fears about the likely knock-on fall-out on the supply chain.”

Print Week reported on one former supplier of display graphics to Arcadia who commented: “They hadn’t been significant anyway but we were trading up until the first lockdown. They didn’t appreciate us pushing so hard for payment though and (thankfully for us) haven’t been in touch since the summer.”

Meanwhile Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said he had received creditable reports from members over the way Arcadia treated its suppliers. He said: “Both companies have been slow in paying suppliers from what we have found with the problem arising more than a couple of years back so blaming everything on Covid-19 is a bit of an easy excuse. As sales dropped so did cash flow and so did prompt payment.”

Jo Francis said: “Paragon Group acquired the Debenhams in-house print operation Magenta Print & Display two years ago. It subsequently rebranded its UK graphics services business as Service Graphics with Magenta becoming part of Service Graphics Display. Service Graphics had not commented at the time of writing. Another print supplier, Huddersfield-based Leach, had also previously supplied high-end lightbox graphics to TopShop.”

Ian Carrotte said graphics and in house signage are key parts of retailing and they come at a cost which adds to the overheads of retailers. He said a lot of people will be out of pocket as a result of the collapses and the only people to gain were the administrators.

The industry journalist Harry Mottram said that designers and printers were often the last to be paid and didn’t always chase payment as much as other industries. He said: “Many small firms and sole traders don’t have the time to routinely sit on the phone, knock on doors or give accounts departments a hard time chasing up overdue invoices. Sadly that is a mistake as allowing any client to let payment slip by days or weeks is like working for nothing and in the case of these retailers that’s what has in effect happened.”

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