An appeal for agents, distributors, suppliers and brands
The trade in consumer goods and much of the global production is delayed. Our agents, distributors, suppliers and brands dealing with exports and imports are currently in an impossible situation.
“We will have to stop taking salaries, but keep on with our work.”
Liquidity is severely threatened due to non-payment of delivered goods. Produced goods that already have been paid cannot be delivered. Orders that are commissionable are canceled or put on hold. Agents, distributors, suppliers and brands are forced to carry large costs, both for factories and their principals reduced revenue, and for customers failed ability to pay. Bankruptcies are a fact.
Trade Partners Sweden receive daily reports on principals that keep commissions, due to lack of payments from customers or simply because they feel like they need to keep the money in order for their own liquidity. Commissions on sold collections and goods available in the stores this spring will be withdrawn as the goods cannot be delivered when factories have no production or goods does not arrive on time. This means that all the work done by agents, distributors, suppliers and brands during the past year is, in principle, unpaid.
“At the same time, all fixed costs remain.”
Agents and distributors with commission as revenue are the last in the food chain to get paid. This means that, due to the Corona Pandemic situation, they are missing out on commission for work already done. Future sales and commission payments are also threatened as many of our member companies, which are small and medium-sized companies, one-man companies or family businesses, cannot meet buyers on regular forums, such as trade shows and industry events, since these are arranged for more than 50 people (which currently is the amount of people that can gather according to the precautions taken by the government in Sweden).
Therefore we need help. To help and support agents, distributors, suppliers and brands to survive so that they can start conducting business again at the other side of the pandemic is to ensure that a large part of Swedish exports and imports and small and medium-sized businesses still remain, an important part of Swedish economy.
The requirements are that:
• Other countries, in and outside of the EU, must prioritize relations with companies in other countries. It includes changes in legislative amendments that mean that agreements can be broken, for example with reference to force majeure. Invite other countries to try and find solutions through negotiations that benefit both partners.
• General payroll tax is abolished.
• Demand that real estate companies take their share of the responsibility.
• Offer rent reductions to showrooms and sales offices for agents, distributors, suppliers and brands.
• Offer rent reductions to stores. By supporting customers to agents, distributors, suppliers and brands, the next joints are also supported.
• By pushing costs forward, the recovery will be tougher later on when trade picks up speed again. Loans and deferral of VAT are thus not an options for many who cannot guarantee later payment.
The voices of agents, distributors, suppliers and brands
“The situation is slightly chaotic, our customers (stores and retail chains) have a really hard time in Sweden, in Norway, Denmark and Finland it is even worse. We spend a lot of time managing cancellations and postponing payments. In the end, we are quite convinced that we will suffer a large number of lost customers. We will have an unplanned stock and our liquidity will deteriorate significantly. We are basically a prosperous company with a healthy economy, but the situation we are facing now threatens our future existence. In three weeks, the reality has changed radically and unfortunately into something that we could not predict or plan for. The stores take a good hit in the first phase, vi takes the second blow.”
“Since we trade with countries that have been very much affected by the crisis, we currently also have to take longer transport and production times into account. This means that parts of the autumn collection will be delivered in September or October instead of August.”
“Since we work on commission, we are the last in the food chain and today we do not know when or if our factories will be able to pay what they owe. Our niche will not survive if we do not receive proper support.”
“It is a disaster. My principal has canceled selling, which means that we do not receive any commission and thus no salary. My principal has also closed down all deliveries; therefore, we cannot invoice any customers and will not receive commission on the already sold season either.”
“No customer buys immediate goods now. My job now consists of answering questions from troubled stores that from one day to another lost 90% of their customers and, consequently, a huge amounts.”
“Several stores wish to cancel their orders. Our principals have in their turn already placed their production orders on the autumn collections and can therefore not approve cancellations and it’s not something I want either as an agent. But if the stores cannot pay their invoices, us agents will not get our commissions anyways, we are not employees.”
“We are really in a big crisis now and need support in the form of grants, reduced rents, help with payment of salaries to employees, removed general payment tax during the pandemic and reduced rents.”
“Since we have sent out lots of goods for the spring, we hope to get paid for these as soon as possible. this is where our concern lies.”
“All of Norway together with their retail have closed down and they either want to delay deliveries or cancel their orders.”
“Each worked hour generates extremely much worse sales per hour and all traders realize that this doesn’t add up.”
“All customers mention that rents are an important part. There must be a settlement! The biggest problem is the property owners, they refuse to help. No store or company located in the shopping malls can cope with this crisis if they do not get the rent cut in the same parity as the revenue stream.”
“Spring goods will not be paid for when autumn comes and what to do with the autumn deliveries? An impossible situations for the stores and suppliers! The stores need longer credit periods to manage.”
“We export to Denmark, Norway, Germany, Finland and Iceland where the restrictions are even tougher than in Sweden. For example, the stores that are open in Denmark are considered to be lacking solidarity with society by customers. Only those who have webs shops can manage a little longer. I have heard that many customers are not selling anything at all right now. Sales have crashed.”
“My commission will not be paid if the customers cannot pay and the supplier or the store goes bankrupt. If so, my company will go bankrupt as well.”
“Many stores wish to cancel their autumn orders for 2020 now, which means that my commission for September, when the goods are delivered, will be greatly reduced or non existing. In worst cases, I have worked out on the roads for three months with expenses for petrol and hotel nights and will receive no or very little commission. Another disaster that will strike this autumn.”
“The main problem my company now faces is that the foreign suppliers want to get paid in advance for goods. With a falling currency rate in SEK, the cost of the goods becomes extra expensive in combination with stores canceling their orders.”