LONDON — U.K. fast-fashion leader Boohoo Group revealed plans to create 5,000 new jobs off the back of an investment program valued at more than 500 million pounds across the nation over the next five years in its Economic Impact Report, published Thursday.
The online retailer said the new hires will help the company meet increased demand from international markets such as the U.S. and Australia, which now represent around 50 percent of its business, as it plans to acquire additional warehouse space and invest in smart tech solutions to streamline its processes.
The report revealed that in the financial year 2020-21, the group’s operations contributed 559.4 million pounds in gross value added to the U.K., an increase of 34 percent on the prior year, supporting an estimated 8,050 full-time equivalent jobs. The figure equates to around 4.4 percent of the total U.K. clothing and footwear retail sector.
It also shows the regional impacts of the group’s operations. Some 94 percent of the jobs and economic benefits created by Boohoo Group take place outside of London. Across Northwest England, where the group’s international distribution center and headquarters are based, in Burnley and Manchester, respectively, the group contributed 309 million pounds in gross value added to the regional economy. As of January 2021, the group employed 3,208 people in the region.
John Lyttle, chief executive officer of Boohoo Group, said now it is “right to celebrate the significant contributions the company makes to the towns and communities where we operate.”
“The investments we have planned will help us to continue our growth, increasing our customer base both at home and abroad, adding even more value as we do so. All of this has only been possible because of the amazing people who form our Boohoo family,” he added.
Even before the pandemic, Boohoo had gone on an acquisition spree as traditional British high street players suffered from the rise of online pureplays like Asos and Boohoo. The group now operates more than 13 brands, including Boohoo, Boohoo Man, Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal and Misspap, as well as acquired British brands like Karen Millen, Coast, Oasis, Warehouse, Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton.
This report can also be seen as Boohoo’s attempt to shed its negative image following revelations that some of its suppliers in Leicester had been operating sweatshop conditions during COVID-19 lockdowns, with migrant workers earning as little as 3 pounds an hour, in some cases.
In response to allegations, the group in March said it has culled its supplier list and is now working with 78 British companies, compared with the 500 manufacturers it had been partnered with until last year. The company also planned to stop sub-contracting jobs in order to have better visibility over its supply chain.