M & M, Part 2

Last month I discussed margins. This month it's the other “M”—memo. The industry has a love/hate relationship with it. It has a bad name because suppliers think retailers abuse it; because it doesn't protect the interests of the supplier in case of a retailer bankruptcy; and because suppliers never seem to make enough money on memo to justify it. But memo can be an effective tool for both parties—if used properly. Memo will remain and maybe even grow. Retailers will be looking for additional banking in a time of restricted bank credit, and memo is just another form of banking. Suppliers, especially stronger ones, will be tempted to use memo to push out weaker competitors. Nearly everyone will look for ways to move stagnant merchandise, and memo has long been used for that. Memo has many variations on its terms and conditions. At its simplest, it's used for calls from retail

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