BOOHOO has confirmed plans to buy the Debenhams website and brand as part of a £55million deal.
But who owns Boohoo and when was the online clothing giant created?
Who owns Boohoo?
The Boohoo Group is owned by businessman Mahmud Kamani.
The British billionaire co-founded the company alongside Carol Kane, who is also a joint chief executive.
Boohoo targets 16-24 year olds with its colourful designs and rapid turnaround – with the design, manufacturing and sale of a piece usually completed within two weeks.
When was the fashion brand launched?
Boohoo was launched in 2006.
Wholesaler Mahmud spotted the potential of the internet and switched from selling on his Manchester market stall to selling online.
Boohoo is also the parent company of other fast fashion brands Nasty Gal, PrettyLittleThing and Miss Pap.
While high street and brick-and-mortar retail has seen its revenue plunge during the pandemic, sales for Boohoo have surged during lockdown along with other online fashion brands.
Has Boohoo bought Debenhams?
Boohoo today (January 25) confirmed it has purchased the Debenhams brand and website in a £55million deal.
As part of the takeover, the troubled department store will relaunch as an online-only operation from next year.
Debenhams announced its business would be wound down in December 2020, in a move affecting 124 shops and 12,000 jobs.
A few weeks ago, Debenhams then confirmed six stores, including its flagship Oxford Street shop, will permanently close.
The Boohoo deal doesn’t safeguard jobs or shops, meaning the remaining 118 Debenhams shops are still set to close.
Debenhams has already cut 6,500 jobs since May after falling into administration for the second time in April.
Why was there a Boohoo boycott in 2020?
There was calls to boycott Boohoo after a Sunday Times investigation in July 2020 revealed workers in the Leicester clothing factories for their Nasty Gal brand were paid as little as £3.50 an hour.
This is just half of the national minimum wage in the UK, which is £8.72 an hour for those over 25 and £8.20 for workers aged 21-24.
The investigation also found that workers were apparently not given sufficient protective equipment while in the factory.
It comes after a spike in cases put Leicester back on lockdown, with an outbreak linked to a garment factory in the area.
Boohoo has said it will investigate the allegations, but added in their response to the article that they believe another company may be using the factory premises and are “trying to establish the identity of this company”.
Prior to the Sunday Times’ investigation, the company was also accused of making factory staff work while they had Covid-19, The Times reported.
Meanwhile, the Boycott Boohoo movement has gained traction on social media, with #boycottboohoo trending on Twitter since July 5.
The company has also lost a third of its market share – which stands at around £1.5bn – since the publication of the article.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has said the allegations are “truly appalling” and the government would look into the growing problem of slave labour in Leicester’s garment factories.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News: “There are some quite significant concerns about some of the employment practices in some of the clothing factories in Leicester”.
Meanwhile, online retailers including Next, ASOS and Zalando have all pledged to temporarily drop Boohoo products from their websites, the FT reports.
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