Suppliers warned about role in high street failures

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As Jessops goes into administration, suppliers thinking about tightening their credit terms have been warned about their role in the closure of retailers. 

According to Christine Elliott, chief executive of the Institute for Turnaround, camera chain Jessops was actually turning itself around after a difficult period. The collapse came, Elliot said, when suppliers changed credit terms.

"Having faced severe financial difficulties in 2009, Jessops was an example of a 'zombie' company which had started to turn itself around," she explained.

"This progress has come to a sudden halt because its suppliers have sharply tightened their credit terms.  They seem to have done that in response to the collapse of Comet last November, not because of any deterioration in Jessops' financial position. 

"This does nothing to help the already fragile retail sector. Suppliers and other stakeholders need to differentiate between failing companies and those 'zombie' companies which are in fact capable of becoming viable businesses. 

"In Jessops' case, the company had a significant market share which will be extremely difficult to replicate. Suppliers who may be thinking of acting in a similar manner, should consider that such actions may have the unintended consequence of damaging their own interests. Jessops and its employees now face a bleak future despite, and not because of, the way the business responded to its zombie challenge."  

About Dan Martin

About Dan Martin

Dan Martin has 10 years experience as a journalist writing about entrepreneurs and the issues that affect them.

After three years working as a researcher for Sky News, he joined as a reporter. This was followed by two years working as news editor for during which time Dan also contributed to Growing Business magazine. In 2006, he joined Sift Media as business editor before being promoted to editor of He also has responsibility for UK Business Forums, the UK’s most active online forums for small business entrepreneurs. In addition, Dan founded The Pitch,'s nationwide competition for small business owners. He host the grand finals in 2009 and 2010 in front of an audience of 300. 

As well as interviewing many entrepreneurs, Dan has written content for leading business organisations such as the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, British Chambers of Commerce, Forum of Private Business, Investors in People and Business Link for London. Among the publications that have quoted Dan are The Times, Mail On Sunday, Financial Times, Personnel Today and Bristol Evening Post. His articles have also been published by publications including eGov Monitor, Virgin Express in-flight magazine and Personal Success.

Dan regularly speaks at events about small business and social media issues. Among the events he has presented at are the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies' annual conference, Learning Technologies, Publishing Expo and World of Learning. He has also chaired high profile debates featuring senior representatives from Business Link and the Federation of Small Businesses and Dragons' Den judge James Caan.

Dan was named the 10th most influential political blogger on Twitter by the Independent and won the public award for best B2B tweeter at the Golden Twits 2010. He also organised the Bristol Twestival, part of a global Twitter driven charity initiative, in February 2009 and March 2010. Volunteers from 175 cities around the world organised events using the social network. In total, $350,000 was raised for charity: water in 2009 and $500,000 for Concern in 2010. In Bristol, £1,500 and £5,600 was raised.


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