Boohoo has said it made a “genuine mistake” by listing the same items for vastly different prices across its host of brands.
Earlier this week the online fashion giant launched an internal investigation into reports that numerous items were found listed across different websites owned by Boohoo at different price points.
According to the BBC, which first reported the story, the same jacket was sold at Dorothy Perkins for £55, and Coast at £89.
Other items were found to be sold at different prices across Boohoo’s brands, which now include Boohoo, BoohooMan, Coast, Karen Millen, Dorothy Perkins, Warehouse, Oasis, Wallis, Burton, Debenhams, PrettyLittleThing, NastyGal and MissPap, some of which had the original branding crossed out.
While its not illegal for companies to price the same item differently across various brands they own, Boohoo was accused of potentially misleading customers on social media.
Boohoo has now stated that this was a “genuine mistake and not business practice” and occurred due to special circumstances brought on by the pandemic.
Lockdown forced many high street fashion retailers such as Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton, which Boohoo subsequently purchased last year, to shut their doors permanently.
When these brands were closed down, they cancelled their orders with suppliers, who then offered the products they had already made for sale to other retailers that were still trading.
According to a statement sent to the BBC, some of Boohoo’s brand brought this excess stock to full gaps I their ranges and it was not aware of the duplications in its collective product range.
“Our mistake was not realising that some of our brands had purchased the same items from suppliers,” the statement said.
“Therefore we failed to make sure prices were the same across our group of brands.”
MoneySavingExpert.com’s Oli Townsend pointed out that this was not a unique occurrence to Boohoo, but that it raised some ethical concerns.
He said: “There’s a question of ethics when there’s such a price disparity between retailers under the same parent company – especially when in some cases they may share the same warehouse, courier and returns department.
“These brands risk their customers feeling ripped off and losing trust in that brand.”
“But if some retailers are cutting off or obscuring the original brand name, it makes this difficult and puts consumers at a disadvantage.”