Retailers Grapple With Credit

The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishing Market is one of the biggest market expos of its kind. Retailers from all over the world converge on the event to order products, and in July the event also featured a Retailer to Retailer Breakfast Seminar, where several leading independent retailers gathered to discuss market trends, professional development and industry practices. The interactive event was hosted by the Gift and Home Trade Association (GHTA). One of the things they agreed on was that retailers can’t survive without credit terms.

“Due to a variety of economic factors, vendors are requiring retailers to pay for merchandise up front with credit cards, as an alternative to offering extended credit terms,” said Carl Sallese, owner of Baltimore, Maryland based, Ann Marie’s Hallmark. “But we can’t finance our business with credit cards. It’s impossible. Many retailers have spent years establishing their businesses and earning good credit.”

The typical way of doing business in the past dictated that vendors permit retailers to order products without providing payment up front. This, in turn, has allowed retailers to better serve customers, and to increase product offerings in their stores. However, over the past several years it has become very common for vendors to instead require payment at the time of purchase, since they would have no opportunity to collect payment from retailers that go out of business. As a result of the seminar, the GHTA will be including a session during its annual conference later this year, specifically dedicated to credit issues.