Marks & Spencer has been accused of hypocrisy over its attack on discount fashion after it emerged the retailer shares suppliers with value giant Primark, The Times has reported.
Marks & Spencer executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose said at Wednesday’s AGM that it was impossible to sell a t-shirt in the UK for £2 while covering business costs and paying a “fair and living wage to the person who made it”. The comment was taken as a thinly veiled attack on low-price specialist Primark.
But yesterday, when Primark-owner ABF updated on trading, group finance director John Bason said it shared some suppliers with M&S.
“Sometimes people think Primark sources from people different to everyone else on the high street,” Bason observed. He said 98 per cent of its top 250 suppliers also supply other high street names.
Anti-poverty campaigners said M&S was being hypocritical. War on Want senior campaigns officer Simon McRae said: “This underlines the systemic problem that no British fashion retailer can guarantee a living wage and decent conditions for garment workers.”
An M&S spokeswoman said it shares three suppliers with Primark and the two retailers have one factory in common. She said M&S suppliers are stringently audited. “There’s absolutely no hypocrisy here,” she maintained.