Boohoo Cuts Ties With Hundreds of U.K. Manufacturers, Bans Sub-Contracting

After more careful auditing, the fast-fashion retailer went from working with more than 500 U.K. manufacturers to 78.

By Natalie Theodosi on March 25, 2021

Boohoo is under fire again, this time with U.S. Customs and Border Protection looking into it. Courtesy LONDON — Is Boohoo taking its first steps toward transparency and more ethical production? The fast-fashion retailer published an updated and shortened list of its U.K. manufacturers, having vowed to make changes after a sweatshop scandal last summer — much to investors’ relief. Post-announcement, there was a small 0.1 percent uptick on the group’s share price, which closed at 3.33 pounds. The online retailer said it had culled its supplier list, and is now working with 78 British companies, compared with the 500 manufacturers it had been partnered with until last year. “The group has ceased doing business with a number of manufacturers who were unable to demonstrate the high standards of transparency required, despite being provided with opportunities to address any issues identified during the auditing process,” Boohoo said. Among the axed suppliers are a number of factories in Leicester, England, which had been linked with a spike in COVID-19 cases last summer. They had been accused of poor labor practices and lack of health and safety regulations in separate reports by The Sunday Times of London and the activist group Labour Behind the Label. Boohoo’s latest move is a result of an Agenda for Change program it laid out following the Leicester factory allegations — which also sent its share price tumbling. The program aims to change the way that all Boohoo brands work with their suppliers, by mapping out manufacturing partners and auditing them on a regular basis.

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