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MANCHESTER – An undercover reporter for the Times newspaper found staff fulfilling online orders at Boohoo’s warehouse in Northern England complained of racism, sexual harassment, unrealistic targets and poor safety equipment. The Times reporter claims the working conditions have led to workers collapsing, and that an ambulance is called to the site once a month on average.

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The UK fast fashion retailer has denied the claims are representative of working conditions at is warehouse. In response a Boohoo spokesperson said: “Boohoo is taking every claim very seriously but does not believe the picture painted is reflective of the working environment at our Burnley warehouse.

“Making sure our people are safe and comfortable in their workplace is our highest priority … [and] tell us that they are happy with their working environment, feel valued and feel listened to.”

The Times posted a video made by its undercover reporter. The content of the video is in stark contrast to the picture painted by Boohoo above. Is Boohoo gaslighting us? It would not be the first time.

In 2020 Boohoo accepted all the recommendations of an independent review that found major failings in its supply chain in England. At that time serious newspaper allegations were made about working conditions and low pay in factories in the Leicester area that supplied it. These included that workers at Boohoo suppliers had flouted lockdown rules and been encouraged to go into work while much of industry remained shut in the early days of the pandemic.

At that time, Boohoo’s stock could not have been higher – financially at least. Its share price peaked at more than £400 per share in June 2020, before the supplier scandal broke.

Since then, the share price has been on a continuous downward spiral. This week it stands at £37.89. Part of this will be down to the general woes of the economy. However, investors are becoming increasingly nervous about any kind of ESG-related controversy associated with their stockholdings. Boohoo faces an uncertain future as we head into 2023.

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