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Business Advice

FairPrice unveils scheme to help small suppliers

Supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice is starting a special business assistance programme to help SME suppliers during the uncertain economic conditions.
The Straits Times - September 25, 2012
By: Jonathan Kwok
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FairPrice unveils scheme to help small suppliers NTUC FairPriceā€™s stores all over Singapore are now holding fairs to showcase local products, including fresh goods and toiletries, until Oct 3. -- PHOTO: NTUC FAIRPRICE

SUPERMARKET chain NTUC FairPrice is starting a special business assistance programme to help small and medium-sized suppliers during the uncertain economic conditions.

The suppliers - as many as 1,000 may be eligible - will be able to receive payment from FairPrice within 30 days, down from 60 days now.

They can also apply for a 50 per cent discount on listing and processing fees for new products and variants. Firms usually need to fork out more than $10,000 in these fees every time they introduce a new product to be sold through FairPrice.

The scheme, known as the SME Suppliers Support & Development Programme, will start on Nov 1 and will be available to suppliers that sell less than $5 million worth of goods to FairPrice a year.

Mr Gan Boon Poh, managing director of Gan Hup Lee, which sells packaged pre-mixed meals like yam rice and fried rice, said his firm will benefit from the shorter payment terms.

"In general, for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), cash flow is always an aspect we have to look into because of the limited resources. The better cash flow... will help in our business," he said yesterday.

FairPrice, which will evaluate the scheme and economic situation after 12 months, said the scheme will help SMEs ease their cash flow pressures, manage rising business cost and enhance their capabilities.

The chain cited a recent report from the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau that shows a record low of 37.3 per cent of firms made prompt payments in the second quarter of this year while payment delays hit a record high of 53.8 per cent.

FairPrice ran a similar one-year programme in 2009 to help about 300 suppliers get through the economic crisis then.

The supermarket chain will also organise seminars for SMEs as part of the scheme, sharing insights and relevant topics on industry trends and business development and growth.

Another initiative was launched yesterday as well - a fair to showcase local products, ranging from groceries and fresh products to toiletries, that will run in all FairPrice stores until Oct 3.

Chief executive Seah Kian Peng said: "FairPrice has a network of over 100 stores islandwide, and we hope that customers too will share in our efforts to support local businesses by supporting locally made products and spreading the word on the fair."

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