Britain's Boohoo begins production at first manufacturing site

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A smartphone with the Boohoo logo displayed is seen on a keyboard in this illustration taken September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - British online fashion retailer Boohoo (BOOH.L), seeking to improve its image after negative publicity over its supply chain failings, has begun production at its first ever manufacturing site.

Boohoo said on Tuesday the 23,000 square feet factory in Leicester, central England, is "proof of its commitment to the city of Leicester and ethical British manufacturing."

In 2020, the retailer, which sells clothing, shoes and accessories aimed at 16 to 40-year-olds, accepted all the recommendations of an independent review that found major failings in its supply chain in England after newspaper allegations about working conditions and low pay in factories in the Leicester area.

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Boohoo pledged to fix the problems with its "Agenda for Change" programme and in March last year revealed a major consolidation in its list of British suppliers.

It said it was investing "millions of pounds" in the new Leicester factory, which will have capacity to manufacture tens of thousands of garments. Up to 180 jobs will be created.

Boohoo also plans to use the site as a training facility for product teams across its 13 brands and to provide guidance to suppliers.

Last month the group warned on annual profit for the second time in four months, blaming a spike in product return rates, disruption to international deliveries and higher inbound freight costs. read more

Shares in Boohoo are down 71% over the last year.

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Reporting by James Davey; editing by David Evans

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