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Article

16 Apr 2020

Author:
Annie Kelly, The Guardian

Arcadia Group reported to have cancelled over £100m global garment orders amid COVID-19, risking poverty for thousands of supply chain workers

“Arcadia Group cancels ‘over £100m’ of orders as garment industry faces ruin”, 15 April 2020

Arcadia Group, which owns brands including Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, is estimated to have cancelled in excess of £100m of existing clothing orders worldwide from suppliers in some of the world’s poorest countries. According to…the Bangladesh Garments and Manufacturing Association…, the Arcadia Group has cancelled £9m of orders in Bangladesh alone.

...Arcadia Group declined to comment.

[R]etailers have been accused of abandoning their garment workforce at a time when many lower-income countries will struggle to provide economic safety. Arcadia Group [owner]…, Philip Green…, said…it would accept [orders] that were in transit…at a 30% discount. However, all other orders, including clothing that had already been made but had not been shipped, will be cancelled. Primark, Matalan and Edinburgh Woollen Mill have [also] cancelled billions of dollars of orders. [In] Bangladesh [alone]…, over 1 million garment workers [have] los[t] their jobs or [have been]…sent home without pay.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has really exposed the fallacy of the narrative that fashion brands don’t have a direct relationship to the millions of workers in their supply chains. It’s an incredible demonstration of the impunity and power imbalance that lies at the heart of this industry”, says Thulsi Narayanasamy, head of labour at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.  

Part of the following stories

Major apparel brands delay & cancel orders in response to pandemic, risking livelihoods of millions of garment workers in their supply chains

Arcadia Group apparel suppliers call on administrators Deloitte LLP to ensure all payments owed for orders are fulfilled