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Topshop Parent to Sign Bangladesh Accord

Britain’s Arcadia Group said it will sign the binding Bangladesh fire and safety accord with unions, despite doing a small amount of business in the country.

LONDON — Britain’s Arcadia Group, parent of brands including Topshop, Topman, and Miss Selfridge, said Wednesday it will sign the binding Bangladesh fire and safety accord with unions, despite doing a small amount of business in the country.

“As a large clothing retailer, we were deeply saddened by the recent events in Bangladesh, and our thoughts are with all of those affected,” the company said.

Arcadia said that Bangladesh represents a small percentage of its total supply chain. Topshop’s purchases from Bangladesh are less than 25,000 pounds, or $29,430 at current exchange, to date this year.

“However, in order to show support for the initiative that this accord is proposing to undertake, we as a group will be signing up.  This will be done on the condition that we understand the final costs to us, which to date has not been made clear.

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“As with any other commercial contract we sign, we reserve the right to review our participation if the accord does not achieve its stated aims within an agreed timescale,” the company added.

On Wednesday, The Guardian newspaper in London wrote that companies including Arcadia, George at Asda, Next, and Matalan had failed to meet the deadline for signing the agreement.

Arcadia said it only received an official copy of the proposed accord at 8:50 pm on Tuesday, after requesting it from the Ethical Trading Initiative, an alliance of British businesses, trade unions and voluntary organizations.

“The Arcadia Group has a rigorous ethical trading program which can be viewed infull on our website…We are proud of our sustained efforts in terms of factory inspections and audits, and our teams worldwide work very closely with our suppliers and their factories to do our utmost to ensure compliance,” the company said.