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22 Apr 2024


M&S and Next demand answers from Under Armour and Columbia over factory 'abuse'

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... Marks and Spencer, Next, John Lewis, Harrods and JD Sports have asked US companies [Under Armour and Columbia] for information on the suicide of a mistreated worker at a factory in Jordan, revealed by an i investigation.


[The family of Tureza Akter, a 21-year-old Bangladeshi woman]claim she was physically and verbally “tortured” by a supervisor at the [Fine Apparel] factory, where sexual harassment is also said to be common.

Migrant labourers at the factory have been kept in “dehumanising” conditions, sources claim, often working 16-hour days, seven days a week, for less money than expected.

It is alleged that their passports are withheld by managers, though this is disputed by Needle Craft, the manufacturing group which runs the factory.

The two fashion brands are awaiting the results of an independent investigation into Fine Apparel, which also makes clothes for the major US firm American Eagle.

An M&S spokesperson told i: “We take any allegations of this nature very seriously and remain in close communication with our third-party brand partner as they carry out their investigation.”


“None of the Columbia Sportswear Company products currently available on M&S.com come with a Jordan COO [certificate of origin],” the spokesperson said.

A representative for Next, which stocks Under Armour and Columbia items, confirmed that it has been in contact with both companies.

Next awaits the findings before making any decisions regarding the brands, they said.

John Lewis and JD Sports, which sell clothes from both brands, and Harrods, which stocks Under Armour products, are also on alert for the investigation’s findings, i understands.

The retailers Sports Direct, Foot Asylum and Cotswold Outdoor also sell items made by the US firms. They did not respond to questions about the allegations and any potential action they may take.