Product distributor Innzone has announced plans to cease operations over the next four months.

The company sends and invoices sale or return stock such as batteries and e-cigarettes to convenience stores through Smiths News and Menzies distribution.  It is understood that the company currently has 200 retailer customers that may have stock to return.

Managing director Phillip Glyn told BetterRetailing: “We’re phasing out supply through this channel, ultimately, we’ve come to an agreement whereby we will honour all the credits that are due back to any retailer that may have goods to return over the next four months.”

Innzone’s terms mean stores can only return goods during a one-month window beginning three months after they were delivered. “I want to stress that retailers shouldn’t return goods before the return window is open, if it’s before or after it won’t be valid. It’s business as usual,” he urged.

Glyn said “a more challenging retail environment” had led him to reconsider the future of the business.

The NFRN advised stores: “Members are advised to check that they have their Buy Back Guarantee Certificates and have made a diary note to remind themselves of when the window opens to return any unsold products.”

The company initially denied it was ceasing trading when approached last week for comment. Asked what had changed, he responded: “Not all parties like Smiths and Menzies had been told, the last thing I wanted was for it to come out in the trade press.”

The company found success in becoming a vital route to market for first wave vaping devices such as Nicocig and Intellicig. However, Innzone occasionally attracted the ire of customers. Some claimed that they were sent goods they did not want and the long wait to return affected cash flow and meant return windows were easily missed.