Boohoo mulls closure of state-of-the-art factory

Boohoo mulls closure of state-of-the-art factory

In early 2022, Boohoo hailed the opening of its first UK “model” garment factory as a new “centre of excellence” underlining its commitment to Leicester’s “great future” as the hub of the domestic textiles industry.

Boohoo Group – DR

Fast forward 24 months and the fashion retailer is now considering “closure of the site in due course”, citing efficiency, productivity and business strengthening initiatives.

The Manchester-based firm said fewer than 100 employees at the factory, which also acted as a training centre, might be affected, while expecting “some roles” to be relocated.

A Boohoo spokesperson said: “As in any retail business, the role of our sites continues to evolve over time and following significant investments at our Sheffield distribution centre and the opening of a new distribution centre in the US, we must now take steps to continue to ensure we are a more efficient, productive and strengthened business.

“All these factors have led us to make the difficult decision to consider relocating some of the operations at Thurmaston Lane and consider the closure of the site in due course.

“We are now in a period of consultation and are working closely with all affected colleagues to ensure they are fully supported during this process.”

The multi-million pound 23,000 sq ft factory and accompanying training centre was built to “reintroduce skills in garment manufacturing that have been lost in the UK over time”. It initially employed 100 workers producing 6,000 garments a week.

Operations at the factory were highlighted as a model by the retired judge Sir Brian Leveson in a review conducted as part of Boohoo’s Agenda for Change roadmap that began in 2020. The plan intended to improve conditions in the fashion group’s supply chain after revelations about poor pay and conditions particularly at locations in Leicester where the group then sourced about 40% of its product.

In October, Boohoo said it expected annual sales to decline a below-forecast 12-17% as analysts said the group had lost market share, despite price cuts. Sales fell 17% to £729 million in the six months to 31 August, and losses grew £11 million to £26.4 million.

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