Boohoo begins production at new Leicester garment factory
Boohoo has begun production at its new Leicester garment manufacturing facility and has been onboarding the first intake of the planned 180 staff.
The Manchester-based fast fashion group submitted plans for the Thurmaston Lane factory, housed on a site to the north of the city that was formerly occupied by a Vauxhall garage, in March of last year.
It said the move to create its own site was a sign of its commitment to keep production in the UK following a series of reports about poor working conditions for staff at factories in its Leicester supply chain.
The company appointed Alison Levitt QC to investigate its supply chain and subsequently severed ties with dozens of factories, but it said it did not want to send production overseas. Speed of production is crucial to the success of Boohoo's "test and repeat" model, whereby strong selling lines are swift re-ordered and restocked.
Boohoo, which owns 13 brands including Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal, Oasis, Warehouse, Coast and Karen Millen, had previously revealed that some 40% of its clothing was made in the UK.
The Thurmaston Lane site covers 23,000 sq ft and will have the capacity to produce up to 25,000 items a week operating across two shifts. All workers on the site will be offered the same benefits as other Boohoo workers including private medical care and free company shares, as well as pay above the National Living Wage, the company has said.
It will also be using the site as an educational facility hosting students and others who wish to learn about the fashion industry, as well as training site for its own staff.
The first group of new starters has just completed two weeks of paid training at the site with the next intake of workers due to come on board in February.
Group CEO John Lyttle said in statement: “The Thurmaston Lane site reinforces our commitment to UK manufacturing and our long-standing partnership with Leicester.
“It is more than just a factory, it’s a hub of learning and collaboration, as it gives our own teams the chance to work onsite and an opportunity to see a working factory first-hand.
“We welcome the opportunity to share that knowledge with the amazing education institutions in the city and strengthen our collaborative working relationships with our approved suppliers."