Holland & Barrett improves payment practices during unprecedented times


Under the advice of the Small Business Commissioner, health retailer Holland & Barrett has committed to paying its smaller partners on time. This follows a report from the Commissioner’s Office published in April 2019.

Since the report was published, the Commissioner held an initial review meeting with Holland & Barrett in September 2019 where the company provided evidence of their plans to make procedural changes to tackle late payments in their small business supply chain.

The Commissioner held a final review meeting with Holland & Barrett in June 2020 and was provided with further evidence demonstrating how the company has increased its efficiency by ensuring timely payments.

The Commissioner is encouraged by the commitment Holland & Barrett has demonstrated by adopting the recommendations as a tool to ensure enhanced communication of, and compliance with, their existing processes, especially during the current pandemic.

Interim Small Business Commissioner, Philip King said: “My reports offer businesses an insight into the effect a late payment has on a small business.

“Holland & Barrett has provided evidence of regularly monitoring payment performance and commissioning an independent audit. As a consequence, standardised terms and conditions have been introduced which incorporate more flexibility for new and small suppliers, new supplier guidelines have been published, and an invoice query escalation process has been implemented.

“Holland & Barrett’s new CEO, Tony Buffin and its Executive Board are the driving force behind the company’s cultural change and this level of leadership and intervention demonstrates how businesses can improve payment practices for the benefit of small businesses in their supply chain.”

Tony Buffin CEO of Holland & Barrett said: “As a health and wellness retailer, the financial health of our suppliers is very important to us. We work with many small businesses and often help them gain their first foothold in retail through our nationwide network of stores or through our online channel. We acted quickly on the recommendations of the Small Business Commissioner to make sure that we had simple and clear payment processes offering even more flexibility to our newest and smallest suppliers. We feel this is a particularly important step forward at a time when our customers want to take more positive control of their health and when the innovation in wellness delivered by our suppliers is more vital than ever.”

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner has helped small businesses get back over £7.2 million in unpaid invoices (Dec 17 – June 2020).

If you are a small business experiencing late payment issues with a large business, please contact the Office of the Small Business Commissioner.

The Small Business Commissioner’s report can be viewed here.


Contact: Manveer Mann on 0121 695 7761

Editors Notes

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner was launched in December 2017 to ensure fair payment practices for Britain’s 5.7 million small businesses, support them in resolving their payment disputes with larger companies and bring about a culture change in payment practices between businesses and across sectors.

In addition to investigating complaints about late payment issues, the Office provide a variety of free and impartial services such as:

• Resolving disputes and dealing with unpaid invoices

• Checking contracts and getting invoices right

• Signposting small businesses to existing support and dispute resolution services

• Interest Calculator on its website – allowing small firms to calculate interest owed on unpaid invoices.

* Legislation imposed in April 2017 required all large businesses to publish their payment practices.