A Boohoo Group spokesperson told Just Style the company is in a period of consultation regarding the potential closure of its Leicester factory and is working closely with all affected colleagues to ensure they are fully supported during the process.

Since its first manufacturing site opened in Leicester’s Thurmaston Lane, Boohoo said it has made “significant investments” in its Sheffield distribution centre and has opened a new distribution centre in the US.

As a result, the retailer argued it must now take steps to continue to ensure it is a “more efficient, productive and strengthened business”.

The Boohoo Group spokesperson pointed out Thurmaston Lane opened in January 2022 to support the Group in several ways, including manufacturing, printing and training, but added that “as in any retail business, the role of our sites continue to evolve over time”.

The spokesperson continued: “All these factors have led us to make the difficult decision to consider relocating some of the operations at Thurmaston Lane and consider the closure of the site in due course.”

When Boohoo Group announced the opening of Thurmaston Lane it described the 23,000 sq ft factory as “proof of its commitment to the city of Leicester and ethical British manufacturing.”

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The retailer boasted that its first manufacturing facility had created up to 180 jobs and would operate in two shifts, in a change from the traditional way of operating a garment factory, creating double the job opportunities and greater flexibility for the team.

The site was also supposed to be used as a training facility for product teams across all brands operated by the Boohoo Group and provide guidance to suppliers, with a focus on supporting them to improve operational and production efficiencies and make their businesses more sustainable.

Boohoo Group CEO John Lyttle said at the time: “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. It’s an exciting new chapter for the Boohoo Group.”

The facility opened after Boohoo Group found itself embroiled in a media storm in 2020 regarding its supplier factories in Leicester, which were alleged to be underpaying workers and making them work in unsafe conditions.

In November last year (2023) the retailer found itself in the spotlight again with a BBC Panorama investigation alleging Boohoo staff pressured suppliers to drive down prices, even after deals had been agreed.

At the time a Boohoo spokesperson told Just Style: “Boohoo has not shied away from dealing with the problems of the past and we have invested significant time, effort and resources into driving positive change across every aspect of our business and supply chain.”