Matalan called out for demanding 20% price cuts from Asian suppliers

Fashion retailer Matalan is being called out for demanding 20% price cuts from its Asian suppliers, who are being told to “take it or leave it”.

Fed-up suppliers told industry publication Apparel Insider that they are being “played off against one another” as the brand seeks to reduce its costs., using tactics which mirror those of fast fashion brand Boohoo, which has been demanding supplier discounts on all orders.

“We talk a lot about environmental sustainability, but what about the social side?,” one supplier told the publication.

Matalan said the wellbeing of its factory employees is of “utmost importance”, adding that it is committed to ensuring the supply chain is “transparent and closely monitored” and underpinned by its “robust ethical sourcing policy”.

The news comes as the retailer made a series of big appointments in recent months, including chief trading officer Ben Smith and chief supply chain officer Phil Hackney.

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Outsourcing to the third world – and forcing prices down in the process – has come under scrutiny in several other cases in recent months.

Fashion brand Patagonia, which is known for its sustainable image, was called out earlier this month by the investigative journalism platform Follow The Money for using the same factories as fast-fashion brands such as Asos, Primark and Nike.

“We won’t deliver the huge Scope 3 emisisons cuts we need without huge partnership across value chains,” commented sustainability commentator Mike Barry on LinkedIn.

Founder of sustainable Indian textile brand Akalroop, Taruna Magan, also commented, saying: “Looks like the entire demand and supply chain in this industry is skewed towards supply as suppliers seem to be under constant pressure of reduction in prices…”

“The garment manufacturing workers are also under pressure to be in the job they have, [otherwise] they will not get two meals on the table. The brands are dictating their terms. Is there something more than what meets the eye to understand the situation?”

A Matalan spokesperson said: “The wellbeing of factory employees is of utmost importance to Matalan and we are committed to ensuring our supply chain is transparent and closely monitored. Underpinned by our robust ethical sourcing policy, we are focused on continuous improvement and collaboration with industry partners.”

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