Boohoo! Shares in UK retailer slide on US ban report

Shares in UK online clothes retailer Boohoo slid Tuesday on a report that it could face a US import ban over labour abuse allegations, which the firm has denied.

Sky News reported that US Customs and Border Protection had launched a probe into allegations from Liberty Shared, a non-governmental organisation which campaigns against modern-day slavery.

The report sent Boohoo shares sliding 4.6 percent to 328.90 pence in afternoon London trading and follows other allegations of staff mistreatment by the group.

However, Boohoo said in an official statement to that it was not aware of any investigation by US authorities.

“The group is confident in the actions it is taking to ensure that all of its products meet the US Customs and Border Protection criteria on preventing the product of forced labour entering the US, or any of its markets,” it said.

The firm said it continues to fulfil orders to customers in the US across all of its brands and said it would work with any competent authority to provide assurance that products from its supply chain meet the required standards.

Boohoo added that it had worked closely with UK enforcement bodies over the last eight months over other matters relating to alleged mistreatment.

Boohoo was last year hit by allegations that one of its suppliers in England paid workers much less than the national minimum wage.

It has also been investigating a report that its suppliers were underpaying workers in Pakistan.

On the US ban report, it said:

“If the group were to discover any suggestion of modern-day slavery it would immediately disclose this to the relevant authorities.”

Boohoo has been in the headlines recently owing to its purchase of brands belonging to collapsed UK retail giants.

Since the start of the year, it has bought key fashion brands Burton, Wallis and Dorothy Perkins from Arcadia.

It has also snapped up the intellectual property assets of collapsed UK department store Debenhams, allowing it to use its brand going forward.

Both Arcadia and Debenhams had struggled to compete with online fashion brands like Boohoo long before the Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns forced their eventual collapse. via Agence France-Presse

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