Asos among major brands to drop Boohoo over claims of low pay and unsafe factory conditions

The fast-fashion brand has launched an investigation over claims at one of its suppliers’ factories in the UK

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 30, 2020 the online fashion portal Boohoo is pictured on a laptop in London. Boohoo has announced it will launch an independent review of its UK supply chain on July 8, 2020. / AFP / Ben STANSALL
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Three of the UK’s major online retailers will stop stocking Boohoo over claims of low pay and unsafe conditions at a factory operated by one of its suppliers.

On Tuesday, e-tailers Asos and Zalando announced they would no longer stock the fast-fashion brand, days after Next announced it was dropping its products.

It comes following a report from The Sunday Times that said workers at a factory in the English city of Leicester that makes clothes for the brand were paid £3.50 (Dh16) an hour. The UK minimum wage is £8.72.

The report also said staff at the factory were not offered adequate protection from Covid-19, while workers’ rights group Labour Behind the Label said staff at a Leicester factory were “being forced to come into work while sick with Covid-19”.

A shopper walks pass advertising billboards for Boohoo and for 'Pretty Little Things', a Boohoo brand, at Canary Wharf DLR station in central London, Britain, September 17, 2018. REUTERS/James Akena
A shopper walks past advertising billboards for Boohoo and for Pretty Little Thing. Reuters

Boohoo, which also owns the Nasty Gal and PrettyLittleThing brands, has denied responsibility for the supplier but said it would “thoroughly investigate” the claims, adding that if the reports were true, conditions were “totally unacceptable”.

“We will not hesitate to immediately terminate relationships with any supplier who is found not to be acting within both the letter and spirit of our supplier code of conduct,” it said in a statement.

On Monday, Boohoo’s shares fell 16 per cent, followed by a further 12 per cent slump on Tuesday.

Following the news, Asos has temporarily suspended its trading partnership with all Boohoo brands, including PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal.

After dropping Boohoo, a spokesperson for Next said: “Next concluded there is a case for Boohoo Group to answer.

“As a result, last week Next removed the Boohoo and PrettyLittleThing-branded items it was selling previously, from all Next websites.”

The company said it has set up its own investigation over the claims.

“Next is not pre-judging the outcome of this process and no final decision has been made, however, while there is a case to answer, these labels will remain suspended from all Next websites,” the spokesman said.