Tesco is understood to be asking all its non-food suppliers to wait an extra 30 days for payment as it seeks to free up cash for the critical Christmas trading period.

The grocer wrote to its suppliers saying it had changed payment terms from 30 to 60 days, effective from December 1, according to a letter seen by the Financial Times.

Tesco said: “This is a move to align payment terms for our larger non-food suppliers across the Tesco group, which currently vary from country to country and within product categories. We have written to suppliers to seek their agreement to the change and hope to implement it before the end of the year.”

The timing of the change means Tesco can use the extra cash on price cuts and promotions in the Christmas battle.