Boohoo’s co-founder and executive director Carol Kane has said she is “the right person to end our factories shame” as she faces a shareholder revolt to oust her from the board.
Boohoo is due to release its first quarter results tomorrow, with many investors hoping to draw a line under a year of controversy and rollercoaster share prices.
Despite staggering growth throughout the pandemic, seeing Boohoo buy up high street staples like Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton the fast-fashion giants share price is still struggling to return to its pre-scandal highs.
Many prominent investors, including influential shareholder advisory group Glass Lewis, believe that a reshuffle of Boohoo’s board which had a “direct role” in allowing last year’s supply chain scandal to happen, is the only way for the company to regain the trust of the wider market.
They therefore recommended that investors block Kane’s reappointment this week during Boohoo’s annual general meeting, marking the first significant job loss since a damning report into the retailers supply chain was published, revealing high risk conditions, excessive working hours alongside low and often illegal pay.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Kane has defended her position, stating that although she had been “humiliated” by the scandal, she has also been instrumental in rapidly turning the retailers’ practices around.
“Taking someone’s head is vengeful,” Kane said.
“But it doesn’t actually help the industry. Myself, Mahmud (Kamani co-founder and executive chairman) and John (Lyttle, chief executive) are the team that are putting this right.”
“What we’re doing now is far more than just regular factory audits. We’ve gone to a forensic level. We have exposed factories, we have uncovered fraudulent activity, things that you would never see in a factory audit. We’ve not only cleaned up the manufacturing base for us but for everybody else in the industry that wants to tap into it. It’s a move for good.”
Boohoo’s guidance for the first quarter of 2021 came below market expectations at 25 per cent, with five per cent of this growth expected to be generated from newly acquired brands.
Over the past 12 months Boohoo also saw active customers jump 28 per cent to 18 million, alongside a revenue rose of 41 per cent to £1.75 billion.