Boohoo has submitted plans to build a new garment factory in Leicester as its hopes to “restore and promote” the city’s reputation in the fashion industry.
The fast fashion retailer said the new 16,000sq ft factory, which will create 95 jobs in the surrounding area, would be “an example of best practice in garment manufacturing”.
It marks the latest major effort by Boohoo to assuage investors’ concerns as it faces ongoing allegations of poor working conditions and “modern slavery” in its supply chain.
After a damning expose was published last summer accusing Boohoo of paying its Leicester workers as little as £3.50 an hour, knocking billions of its share price, it has been scrambling to make changes in its supply chain.
In July, Boohoo’s chief executive John Lyttle said the retailer was planning to launch a new high-tech factory in Leicester enabling it to produce its own garments for the first time.
This new facility, which will include an education centre and a space for local fashion students to showcase their work, is understood to be the fruition of this plan enabling Lyttle to exert more control over his 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.
However, last month Boohoo ordered its suppliers to ensure all its products are made in-house moving forward, following demands from both government officials and independent advisors.
Leicester-based suppliers, which are understood to produce around 40 per cent of its garments, were instructed to cut ties with sub-contractors and third-party producers.
The site, which used to be a car showroom, will reportedly help create a “sustainable infrastructure for the UK’s fashion industry, centred in Leicester that will continue to provide secure jobs to skilled workers, and a self-sustaining, transparent support and logistics network for suppliers and customers”.