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November 30, 2020

Arcadia collapse: suppliers facing £250m in unpaid invoices

As retail empire Arcadia Group faces collapse and heads to the hands of administrators, the invoice insurance business Nimbla estimates that around £250m of invoices owed to Arcadia's suppliers will go unpaid. This will have a ripple effect and threaten the existence of hundreds of small businesses and jobs further down the supply chain

Flemming Bengtsen, CEO at Nimbla commented: “The much-needed injection of cash into UK businesses via CBILS and BBILS has succeeded in staving off insolvency for many SMEs. However, it has also created a wave of “zombie” companies that have little realistic chance of survival. Arcadia’s collapse highlights the danger of a domino effect as defaults on trade credit trigger others to fail. We estimate as much as £250m of unsecured debts will be left behind to Arcadia’s suppliers.”

“SMEs are in a precarious position; heavily leveraged and unable to withstand further stress to their business. They require their suppliers to offer credit terms as they cannot borrow more and in equal measure, they cannot afford for their debts to go unpaid. The average amount of bad debt SMEs said would tip them into insolvency was £30k before COVID19. That number is undoubtedly much lower now. Arcadia sadly is just the tip of the iceberg as many more defaults can be expected in 2021. The scheme is set to end 31st Dec 2020.”

In protecting businesses around the UK, Nimbla is calling for the Government to extend the Trade Credit Insurance Reinsurance Scheme until such time as the effects of the crisis and the stimulus have worked their way through the system.

Flemming Bengtsen added, “We want to see these companies genuinely recover, if they can. What we must prevent is them dragging others down with them.”

Nimbla has put out the following guidelines for SMEs trading on credit;

  • Forget what you think you know about your trading partners, they may have been strong historically but can you really be sure they are now? Engage with them and don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions.
  • Check your customers credit rating frequently, conditions are changing rapidly. Nimbla offers their real-time ratings and insurance quotes for free.
  • Stay on top of overdue debts. Every insured invoice with Nimbla includes a debt collection service.
  • If you do have overdue invoices. Encourage your buyers to start a repayment plan as soon as possible. We can help.
  • Even the safest seeming and best rated companies are prone to failure. It is always best to insure. Consider what value invoice you can afford to lose and above what value you cannot.

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