The former judge monitoring Boohoo’s improvement plan said the company was committed to addressing its failings as it published a list of suppliers.
Brian Leveson said he had been concerned that Boohoo’s recent acquisitions might have distracted it from cleaning up its supply chain but that the group was still working hard on its Action for Change (A4C) plan. The company has bought the Debenhams brand and the Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis names in 2021.
The fast fashion chain promised to overhaul its purchasing and supply chain after an independent review found “endemic” failings at factories making its products in Leicester. Boohoo responded after press stories said workers were underpaid and working in unsafe conditions – allegations the report confirmed.
Boohoo’s failings highlighted long-running concerns about treatment of workers in Leicester, which has become the centre of the UK’s garment industry. Boohoo promised to help improve conditions in the wider industry in Leicester as well as improving its own processes.
Boohoo appointed Leveson, best-known for his review of press standards, to check on its progress. On Thursday Boohoo published a list of its UK suppliers, as promised.
“There is no doubt about the determination of all those involved to address the failings for which boohoo has been criticised and to embed a new way of working,” Leveson said in his second report. “Despite the group having made a number of acquisitions in recent months, A4C remains its top priority.”
Leveson added that Boohoo still had plenty to do and that it would face decisions about how to uphold standards in the long run. Boohoo shares rose 3.2% to 343p at 08:32 GMT.
Boohoo also set out new targets for smarter manufacturing of clothes, better terms for suppliers and reducing its carbon footprint as part of a new sustainability strategy. Some analysts have questioned whether the company, whose brands include PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal, can make such improvements while keeping its prices low.
John Lyttle, Boohoo’s chief executive, said: “This is the not the end of a project for us at boohoo but the beginning of a new way of working with our suppliers. We are driving positive change in the industry and want to play our part in rebuilding a vibrant manufacturing base in Leicester, one that offers good employment and great prospects for the workers and the industry in Leicester as a whole.
“The publication of our UK supply chain list marks another step on our journey towards greater transparency and embedding positive change, not only in our own organisation, but through the wider network of businesses that make up our supply chain.”