Boohoo is set to start manufacturing its own clothes for the first time as it prepares to launch a high-tech factory in Leicester.
John Lyttle, Boohoo Group’s chief executive, will visit Leicester today to tour the site of what is set to be Boohoo’s first factory, according The Mail on Sunday.
By building its own manufacturing facility, which will reportedly create 250 jobs in the city, Lyttle hopes to exert more control over the fast fashion group’s vast supply chain.
Until now, Boohoo has used third party suppliers to produce clothes for its range of brands, including Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing, Nasty Gal and MissPap.
This has recently landed the group in massive controversy seeing billions wiped off its share price after an exposé into the working practices at one of its suppliers in Leicester was published by the Sunday Times.
The piece accused the factory of paying workers just £3.50 an hour and despite Boohoo dropping the supplier in question and launching an independent investigation has seen more than £1 billion wiped off its share price.
Lyttle says he plans to emulate the worlds largest fashion retailer Inditex, which owns high street fashion giant Zara, by bringing manufacturing in-house.
“Number one: this factory is a commitment to UK manufacturing,” he said.
“But it’s also about making sure we can support our growth with a level of in-house production.
“Inditex have a number of joint ventures in Spain and in Portugal that they work with, and that really helps their flexibility – it’s not dissimilar to that.
“Let’s get this one up and running, prove the model. And then decide and see where we go from there. We’re not manufacturers, but we feel confident we can execute this and we can make this factory successful.”
Boohoo seems determined to keep its manufacturing based in Leicester, where it currently makes around 40 per cent of its garments, as analysts predict it could take a 30 per cent cut to profits by moving production overseas.