UPDATE 1-Uniqlo owner won't sign on to Bangladesh safety pact -WSJ

Mon May 27, 2013 3:29pm EDT

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May 27 (Reuters) - Fast Retailing Co Ltd, the Japanese operator of the Uniqlo and Theory fashion brands, for now will not sign a legally binding safety pact for factories in Bangladesh, preferring to ramp up its own inspections, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

In April, more than 1,100 garment workers died in the collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, putting pressure on fashion brands to improve worker safety.

Instead of joining rivals like Sweden's H&M and Spain's Inditex, owner of the Zara brand, in signing the pact, Fast Retailing will improve disaster preparedness and building inspections at its partner factories on its own, said the Journal, which interviewed a company executive.

A Japan-based representative for Fast Fashion could not be reached outside business hours for comment, and a U.S. based spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.

In addition to H&M and Inditex, other companies that have signed the accord, which was led by European union organization IndustriALL, include U.S. retailers PVH Corp and Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

Gap Inc has said it would not join the pact without changes to the way conflicts are resolved in the courts, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it did not plan to sign on because it believes that its own inspection plans will get faster results.

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