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Boohoo mulls closing factory at centre of 2023 BBC Panorama investigation

Online fashion giant Boohoo

Boohoo is considering shutting its factory in Thurmaston Lane, Leicester and relocating its operations.

The Thurmaston Lane site was Boohoo’s first in-house manufacturing facility, and was dubbed a “model” factory when it opened in January 2022.

It faced controversy after a November 2023 BBC Panorama investigation into the Manchester fast fashion giant’s working conditions and treatment of suppliers found some orders placed via the factory were being made by seven Moroccan factories and four others in Leicester.

A Boohoo Group spokesperson said: “We opened Thurmaston Lane in January 2022 to support the group in several ways, including manufacturing, printing and training.

“As in any retail business, the role of our sites continues to evolve over time and, following significant investments at our Sheffield distribution centre and the opening of a new distribution centre in the USA, we must now take steps to continue to ensure we are a more efficient, productive and strengthened business.

“All these factors have led us to make the difficult decision to consider relocating some of the operations at Thurmaston Lane and consider the closure of the site in due course.

“We are now in a period of consultation and are working closely with all affected colleagues to ensure they are fully supported during this process.”

The business said it entered a consultation in December, with “less than 100” staff members affected at the factory. It added that it planned to retain its quality assurance and ethical compliance staff, currently located at the Thurmaston Lane site, in another Leicester location full-time, according to fashion retail mag Drapers.

Following the Panorama investigation, Boohoo conceded it had faced problems with its treatment of suppliers in the past, but insisted it was making changes. A spokesman said at the time: “Boohoo has not shied away from dealing with the problems of the past and we have invested significant time, effort and resource into driving positive change across every aspect of our business and supply chain.”

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