Boohoo is set to open a new highly automated garment factory in Leicester as it seeks to recover over a billion in losses incurred by a damning undercover report.
Boohoo is understood to have acquired a former Vauxhall dealership in the North of Leicester, a city which has become embroiled in controversy over the rights of workers in its booming garment industry.
According to the Sunday Times, which sparked the ongoing labour rights scandal after publishing an undercover investigation accusing Boohoo of paying its garment factory workers just £3.50 an hour, the fast fashion group plans to convert the site into a state-of-the-art automated factory.
While it is understood that these plans were in place before the scandal broke, which has seen more than £1 billion wiped off the company’s share price, it has placed the future factory firmly in the spotlight.
Boohoo, which alongside its eponymous label owns PrettyLittleThing, Karen Millen and NastyGal, is understood to produce around 40 per cent of its garments in Leicester.
According to Credit Suisse analyst Szilvia Bor Boohoo’s profits would drop around 30 per cent by 2022 if it was forced to move production offshore as it would be far slower to respond to shoppers changing fashion needs.
While Boohoo is yet to secure planning permission for its high-tech factory, it says it remains committed to its “Made in Britain” strategy and would endeavour to keep production as local as possible.
“We firmly believe that ‘Made in Britain’ should be a label of pride for those wearing our clothes and badge of honour for those who make them,” Boohoo’s chief executive John Lyttle said in a letter to home secretary Priti Patel.
Boohoo has launched an investigation into the allegations led by barrister Alison Levitt QC, while pledging £10 million to “eradicate supply chain malpractice”.