UK's Boohoo hires retired judge Leveson to oversee supply chain revamp

by Reuters
Thursday, 26 November 2020 08:20 GMT

A woman poses with a smartphone showing the Boohoo app in front of the Boohoo logo on display in this illustration taken September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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The fashion brand has faced scrutiny over reports of labour abuses in factories supplying its clothes and accessories

LONDON, Nov 26 (Reuters) - British online fashion retailer Boohoo has appointed retired judge Brian Leveson to independently check its drive to improve its supply chain and business practices, it said on Thursday.

In September, Boohoo accepted all the recommendations of an independent review which found several failings in its supply chain in England after allegations about working conditions and low pay, and set out steps to tackle the problems.

The group, which sells own-brand clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products targeted at 16- to 40-year-olds, said Leveson would report directly to the Boohoo board and his reports would be published.

Leveson is best known for heading a 2011-12 inquiry into British press standards after Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World tabloid admitted hacking thousands of phones to produce ever-more salacious stories.

He retired as a judge last year.

Boohoo said Leveson had also appointed both legal, and independent inquiry and enforcement specialists to supplement the company's "Agenda for Change" programme.

"Boohoo has recognised that it must institute and embed change so that everyone involved in the group's supply chain is treated fully in accordance with the law and the principles of ethical trading," said Leveson.

Earlier this month, Boohoo also appointed KPMG to assist with the programme.

Despite its supply chain problems Boohoo has traded strongly through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its shares were up 1.7% in early trading on Thursday, valuing the business at 3.71 billion pounds ($4.96 billion).

($1 = 0.7480 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young and Mark Potter)

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