• Sunday, July 03, 2022

Business

Boohoo unveils plan to create 5,000 jobs over 5 years

Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane (Photo: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images).

By: Shilpa Sharma

BRITISH online fashion retailer Boohoo has unveiled plans to create 5,000 jobs over the next five years.

The company said jobs will come from a £500 million growth programme, as it expands its warehouse and builds new IT systems.

Boohoo published a report on its positive economic impact on the UK, claiming the brand added £559.4m to the economy in the previous year, which means the business now accounts for 4.4 per cent of the total UK clothing and footwear retail sector.

It also claimed supporting 8,050 full-time roles and that for every job created by Boohoo and its brands, a further 1.7 were added to the wider economy.

The fashion retailer has been trying to get rid of its negative image post the revelations that some of its suppliers in Leicester had been operating in sweatshop conditions.

Last year, two of its factories in the UK were accused of poor working conditions and of paying as little as £3.50 to £4 an hour to workers making its clothes.

Since then, the group has cut ties with hundreds of its suppliers, and pledged to link multi-million-pound bonuses for its directors with improvements in its supply chain.

Over the past year, Boohoo has bought a series of failed high street names, including Coast, Karen Millen, Dorothy Perkins and Debenhams.

In 2021, the business bought two new warehouses, one in Wellingborough and one in Daventry, both of which give the group an additional 1.845million square feet of space and support over 2,000 jobs, the report added.

In logistics, the group employs 7,000 people at four distribution centres in the UK and ships between 190,000 and 230,000 parcels a day, which are handled by 13 main courier companies and supported an estimated 1,660 jobs in the last financial year, it said.

In the report, it also claimed that it moved over 1,400 agency colleagues from its warehouse teams onto permanent boohoo contracts in the last financial year.

Sustainability in fashion

With shoppers opting to keep items of clothing for longer and move away from so-called ‘throwaway fashion’, sustainability has become a talking point in the sector.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money podcast, chief executive John Lyttle said sustainability will take several years to achieve.

He said: “We’re trying make the journey as sustainable as possible… 20 per cent of all our ranges will be sustainable this autumn… 40 per cent next spring/summer.

“They’re not going to be fixed in six and 12 months… It’s the same 2030 timeframe as combustible engines.”

However, former Labour MP and Environmental Audit Committee chairwoman Mary Creagh said Boohoo’s environmental policy claims and 20 per cent sustainability target amounted to “greenwashing”.

“Boohoo in particular has to reduce the volume of clothes it makes and accurately price their garments to reflect the environmental cost of fashion production.”

Boohoo was founded in 2006 in Manchester by Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane. By 2020, the company had hit sales of £1.2bn and boasted a 5,000-strong workforce.

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