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Boohoo to create 5,000 jobs over next five years

By Huw Hughes

12 Aug 2021

Business

Image: Boohoo

British fashion giant Boohoo has announced plans to create 5,000 new jobs in the UK over the next five years as part of a new investment strategy.

The group will invest 500 million pounds into the strategy, which will include the creation of additional warehouse space and improved technologies to bolster its profits.

“The investments we have planned will help us to continue our growth, increasing our customer base both at home and abroad, adding even more value as we do so,” CEO John Lyttle said in a statement.

The fashion group, which owns brands Nasty Gal, PrettyLittleThing, Misspap, Karen Millen and Coast, has been one of the success stories during the pandemic, with sales soaring as it capitalised on consumers’ accelerated shift to online channels during lockdown.

Part of the company’s aggressive growth strategy includes snapping up smaller rivals or struggling companies. In January, Boohoo bought Debenhams’ online business, while in February it acquired the Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands from the collapsed Arcadia empire.

In May, Boohoo reported a 41 percent increase in full-year revenue to 1.745 billion pounds, while adjusted EBITDA increased 37 percent to 173.6 million pounds.

Global ambitions

Boohoo was launched as a single brand in 2006 and today comprises 13. The Manchester-based group has a growing global appeal, with around half of its sales now coming from international markets such as the US and Australia.

But the online-only retailer has also faced heavy criticism in recent years over the treatment of workers in its UK supply chain. A Sunday Times investigation last year alleged that certain factories in Leicester that supply clothing to Boohoo were forcing employees to work while sick with Covid-19 and paying just 3.50 pounds per hour.

Boohoo launched an independent review of its supply chain which found “many failings”, leading to the group launching its Agenda for Change programme in which it set out six steps to enhance its supplier audit and compliance procedures.

It also cut ties with hundreds of factories.

But two new separate reports over the past weeks by Sky News and I News alleged there was still exploitation going on in Leicester’s textile industry, where the majority of Boohoo’s clothing is made.

In response to the reports, a Boohoo spokesperson said: “Boohoo is committed to the highest standards of ethical compliance within its supply chain. Suppliers are wholly expected to adhere to these standards, and any concerns such as those raised by Sky News are immediately investigated.

“Since last year’s independent review, the group has repeatedly stated its determination in rebuilding a garment industry in Leicester with a robust, fair and transparent supply chain.”