Retailers have called for greater transparency in dealings with suppliers and credit insurers to ensure businesses remain secure during the downturn.

Speaking at a breakfast briefing at the World Retail Congress today, Borders US chief executive Ron Marshall said: “In today’s world you need to be as concerned about your suppliers’ P&L as your own. You both need to be more open with each other.”

AlixPartners director Dan Murphy encouraged retailers to “open up the doors and share trading forecasts”.

He said: “There is an enormous supplier opportunity.”

“Retailers haven’t felt comfortable in sharing data and sharing future forecasts, so suppliers had no idea whether they would come back for a second repeat,” he said.

He added that there is a “shift in all those stakeholder relationships” including those with trade credit insurers.

Marshall called for “transparency” in dealings with credit insurers and highlighted the global knock-on effect of retail administrations such as Woolworths.
Mothercare chairman Ian Peacock encouraged retailers to look for liquidity within their own businesses before turning to the banks.

Peacock said: “Retailers will become much more like financial institutions and replace the banks.”

Marshall added that the “days of the buyer as a merchant are over” and that retailers should “get back to basics” and become more responsible for their cash flow within a business.