In February, MarketInvoice will be launching ‘The State of Late Payment’ report, a detailed anaylsis of over 20,000 invoices taken from debtors across the world in the last 5 years. 

Today we released a preview of one section of our report, looking specifically at the payment records of supermarkets. We reviewed invoice data from 9 of the top 10 largest supermarkets in the UK.

Supermarket as debtor (2015)  
Number of invoices 1096
Paid on time 10.6%
Paid late 68.7%
Paid early 20.5%
1 week or more late 43.2%
2 weeks or more late 14.0%
1 month or more late 6.8%
Average payment day 7.24 days (late)
Average days late 12.30 days (late)

(Data & analysis from our own records of over 20,000 invoices across 6 years.)


  • 68.7% of payments made by UK supermarkets to SMEs in 2015 were late.
  • On average, UK supermarkets paid their invoices over a week late – 7.24 days.
  • UK supermarkets produced worse payment records than banks, blue chips & the FTSE 350 in 2015, paying when they were supposed to just 10% of the time.
  • Figures taken from over 1,000 invoices sent to supermarkets last year, including 9 of the 10 largest stores in the UK.
  • 7% of supermarket invoices were paid more than one month late
  • This data follows ongoing accusations of late paying supermarkets damaging the growth of the UK’s small businesses. Waitrose has recently been forced to launch its own internal inquiry, after it emerged the grocer was taking three times longer than Tesco to pay. (The Times)

Comparison data:

Debtor sector Percentage of invoices paid late last year
Supermarkets 68.7%
FTSE 350 companies 60.9%
Technology companies 50.5%
Banks 44.7%


Debtor sector Percentage of invoices paid early last year
Supermarkets 20.5%
FTSE 350 companies 26.9%
Technology companies 44.6%
Banks 52.6%


Debtor sector Average pay day last year (days late)
Supermarkets 7.2
FTSE 350 companies 4.0
Technology companies 1.7
Banks 0.3


When a business uses MarketInvoice, we capture the due date, expected payment date, as well as the issue date of every invoice. Invoices are verified by the end debtor. Debtors pay into a trust account managed by MarketInvoice, meaning record the eventual payment date when the invoice is settled.