Boohoo ‘lied to suppliers’ to bring down prices, investigation finds

Boohoo ‘lied to suppliers’ to bring down prices, investigation finds
Boohoo: Here are the ethical promises the fast-fashion brand broke
Boohoo’s Broken Promises, Panorama, BBC

Boohoo has been found pressuring and lying to its suppliers to bring prices down, as the online retailer faces fresh outcry over alleged unethical practices.

An undercover investigation by BBC Panorama saw a reporter head into the fast-fashion firm’s head office in Manchester, where a staff member admitted to lying to suppliers in negotiations.

“Go in low and if you’re not getting anywhere, then just say that you can get it cheaper elsewhere,” the staff member said, in footage broadcast on BBC Panorama: Boohoo’s Broken Promises.

“I definitely haven’t. I’m just lying. I just lie,” they added.

The undercover reporter was also told to process a 5 per cent price cut on 400 orders where prices had already been agreed, in an attempt to save the company thousands of pounds.

It comes after the company overhauled its ethical practices three years ago, due to a previous scandal where newspapers reported employees at one of Boohoo’s Leicester factories were being exploited.

Reports said garment workers in one were on wages of just £3.50 per hour and were not properly protected from the spread of coronavirus in 2020.

The minimum wage for workers over 25 in the UK is £8.72. After an independent review found the allegations to be “substantially true”, Boohoo pledged to fix its supply chain problems.

One of the promises included training its buyers to know what a fair price would be to make sure suppliers are able to fairly pay their workers.

However, Panorama said those promises were undermined after staff were encouraged to drive suppliers’ prices down.

A Boohoo spokesperson said: “Boohoo has not shied away from dealing with the problems of the past and we have invested significant time, effort and resource into driving positive change across every aspect of our business and supply chain.

“We work in a constructive way with our suppliers to deliver great value for our customers. Our suppliers pay at least national minimum wage where they operate.

“The majority of our suppliers have worked with the Boohoo group for a number of years, something that would not be possible if the work was not profitable.”

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