Homebase adds terms to growers' contracts

Growers are outraged over multiple's plans to change terms

Growers are outraged about Homebase’s plans for changes in its terms. The DIY/gardening multiple is suggesting it gets a four per cent settlement if it pays within 30 days of the end of the month in which it receives an invoice. It is also making nurseries stock 20 new stores for nothing, “contribute” to the restocking of 40 new stores and adjust prices so Homebase keeps up margins on its 10 per cent discount days. This could be a serious blow to growers, who already meet tough conditions when supplying multiples. One nursery business manager, who did not want to be named, said: “We responded to Homebase saying we don’t accept their proposals because we’ve already agreed prices for 2005. It’s inappropriate to move the goalposts.” Another grower said Homebase wanted to bring in its new terms by 19 February. He was concerned by the lack of time to respond and that there was no consultative process. A further grower added that his company has an existing contractual arrangement with Homebase and he does not believe the multiple can change it legally. He said that Homebase would make the changes whether the nursery responded to the letter or not. A Homebase representative said the firm will be making “significant investments” in its presentation of horticultural products and wants suppliers to fund them. HW successfully campaigned against a similar move by Homebase in 2001.

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