Whirlpool to introduce delivery surcharge for indie retailers
Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool is planning to introduce “a nominal delivery surcharge” for all small trade units going to independent electrical retailers.
ERT was made aware of the plans – which apply to all dealers served by “Hotpoint Home Solutions”, as of 1 March – and one that we spoke to said this is “a direct attack on the independent retailer”.
The company stated that a £3 “flat rate” charge will be added per unit at the point of invoice, irrespective of the number of units being delivered and the frequency of deliveries. However, ERT was told that there would be no charge if a full container of products is ordered.
Retailers received a letter from Whirlpool late last month updating them on the plans. Some then contacted ERT exclusively to express frustrated views, saying that this is “a real, real issue” given the total cost that would be added on when product is regularly ordered in.
One dealer said that the big name multiples will not receive any additional charges. “The charge only applies to those not taking in direct containers, which is most of the independent sector,” they said.
“A slap in the face for independents”
The same small business owner added: “The fact that Whirlpool is charging retailers for this while they offer free-of-charge delivery to its own website customers is a further slap in the face for independents.”
Sharing his views on the subject, Retra CEO, Howard Saycell, asked: “Why are manufacturers trying to put independent electrical retailers out of business?” He referred to “many brands” investing in B2C sales and now Whirlpool’s delivery charge aimed directly at small retailers.
Mr Saycell told ERT: “Retra would like to express its deep concerns about this surcharge. This will not affect anyone of sufficient scale that can order by the container load; it feels like a direct levy on small independent electrical retailers.
“If the brand needs to raise additional money then it should have incorporated that into its trade price increases; this would at least be reflected across all its channels and the high street selling price.”
Following the announcement, the company has since informed retailers that SKU prices will be increased from 1 April. In another letter it said the business wanted to find an “optimal balance between product innovation and category growth” as well as evaluating cost inflation pressures.
When ERT approached Whirlpool to find out more about its delivery plans, a spokesperson said: “It is important to be clear that we have absorbed the full cost to serve for many years.
“In the last few years there have been a number of significant cost impacts for businesses including costs across the supply chain. These include fuel and electricity costs and increases in wages due to strong inflation, as well as significantly lower volumes with contractions in the overall MDA market which have impacted our sustainability as a delivery network.”
The manufacturer added that this small nominal surcharge “reflects a small part of the actual cost” to help ensure it can continue to provide “excellent levels of flexibility” to serve its customers.
If you would like to share your views, get in touch with ERT’s Editor on: email@example.com. And watch out for further updates as this story develops.