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Primark Reacts to Bangladesh Tragedy

British clothing giant confirms links with factory.

LONDON — The British mass-market clothing chain Primark confirmed that one of its suppliers used the second floor of the Bangladesh factory that collapsed this week, killing at least 187 people.

“The company is shocked and deeply saddened by this appalling incident at Savar, near Dhaka, and expresses its condolences to all of those involved,” a Primark spokesman said in a statement. Primark  confirms that one of its suppliers occupied the second floor of the eight-story building, which housed several suppliers to the garment industry making clothing for a number of brands.

“Primark has been engaged for several years with NGOs and other retailers to review the Bangladeshi industry’s approach to factory standards. Primark will push for this review to also include building integrity.”

Meanwhile, Primark’s ethical trade team is “working to collect information, assess which communities the workers come from, and to provide support where possible.”

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The tragedy comes at the end of an upbeat week for the retailer, a division of Associated British Foods. ABF reported its consolidated interim results to March 2 on Tuesday and chief executive George Weston said Primark in the first half was exceptionally strong.

Sales were nearly 2 billion pounds, or $3.2 billion at average exchange rates for the six-month period, 24 percent ahead of the same period last year including 7 percent like-for-like growth.

Weston said the company is “actively searching” for new locations in all the countries in which it operates and in the next financial year plans to open its first stores in France.