Marks & Spencer is to extend the time it takes to pay its general merchandise suppliers from 60 to 75 days.

M&S has written to almost 500 suppliers informing them it is altering its payment terms to bring the retailer “in line with industry standards”. The changes come into effect next month.

Around 75 of the suppliers are based in the UK and all are in the general merchandise category that chief executive Marc Bolland is battling to turnaround after seven consecutive quarters of like-for-like decline, Sky News reported.

M&S executive director of general merchandise John Dixon said suppliers “may have some questions” over the move.

Dixon also told suppliers M&S has introduced a new vendor financing scheme, in which suppliers will receive immediate payment via HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland in return for a substantial discount.

An M&S spokeswoman said: “We are always looking at ways to ensure we are running our business efficiently and that it is well set up for the future. As part of this, we are extending our general merchandise supplier payment terms to bring us in line with industry standards.”