Credit insurer Coface has withdrawn credit insurance cover for the high street chain Woolworths' suppliers.
The decision means that suppliers could insist on earlier payment for goods. Credit insurers provide cover for suppliers, protecting them against losses if a company fails to pay its bills.
But Woolworths insisted that it was comfortable with its financial position.
"Woolworths continues to work closely with suppliers and credit insurers in what is clearly a difficult environment for both the retail and wholesale sectors," said a Woolworths spokesman.
He added that "a substantial proportion" of Woolworths retail suppliers have traditionally operated without credit insurance. "We are confident that we will be able to ensure a successful Christmas for our suppliers and customers," he said.