Footwear brands have voiced concerns about the increased risk of supplying to Jones Bookmaker, whose credit insurance is due to run out at the end of the month.
The brands said Jones was trading well and could typically be trusted to pay its invoices, but said they were worried about uncertainty around its future credit insurance arrangements and who will buy it from Dutch parent company Macintosh Retail Group.
Drapers revealed in March that Macintosh was seeking a buyer for Jones and its stablemate Brantano UK. In April, it appointed bank BNP Paribas to lead the search. Industry insiders have suggested the businesses are likely to be bought by a private equity firm.
One supplier told Drapers: “The situation is very fragile. Jones has no credit insurance, so we have taken a risk by extending credit to it. A difficulty for any potential buyer is that all the Jones store and warehouse systems are run from Holland. Another factor is that many of the old Jones people have left, so it seems like it is being run by people from Brantano.”
Another supplier said: “Brands are nervous because nobody knows who is going to buy the business. All the buyers I speak to are saying the same: we don’t have any issues with Jones and they’re paying us. But no credit insurance is going to restrict them and it sends up a bit of a flag as no one knows if it’s permanent or temporary.”
Macintosh managing director David Short assured Drapers the business made all suppliers aware of the withdrawal of credit insurance several months ago and there have been no interruptions to the supply of products: “We have been fully transparent with our suppliers, we have paid them on time and in return they have been very supportive.”
“Our business structure is designed to ensure that Brantano and Jones are run as separate brands with separate commercial teams protecting their very individual DNA.”