Retailers have often been in the firing line over working practices within their supply chains, but this week two big names were the ones taking aim.
It was a timely and welcome intervention by the pair.
Various scandals of recent years have shown, if there was ever any doubt, that no matter where unacceptable conditions are imposed – whether in factories, distribution centres or farms – retailers, because of their daily dealings with consumers, will be the ones held to account.
So it’s obvious why doing, and being seen to be doing, the right thing – a practice long ingrained at retailers such as M&S – is becoming ever more important.
It was noticeable at Asos’ interim results in April how much emphasis was placed upon good corporate citizenship.
The retailer said then: “We are on record as saying that ethically sourcing our product throughout the supply chain is not optional.
“It is a business imperative for Asos and indeed our industry. Our 20-something customers care deeply about social issues such as ethics in fashion, and the next generation will care even more. This is also highly relevant to our shareholders.”
Kristiansen maintained that the situation in Leicester was an open secret. He said: “Everyone knows what is going on but no-one is listening, they are turning a blind eye to it.”
Well, he and Beighton are determined that should no longer be the case.
“Both Asos and New Look are keen to source more from the UK but are unwilling and unable to until they can be confident that factories meet the required standards”
Other retailers using factories in Leicester should now adopt a similar stance because, if another scandal erupts, it will have been two high-profile retail leaders that will say ‘I told you so’.
Ensuring supply chain abuses are stamped out is not just the right thing to do, it makes business sense.
Asos is not described as a fast-fashion retailer for nothing – it launches 4,500 new styles every week.
Speed to market depends on rapid access to product, which of course becomes easier the closer to home it can be produced.
Both Asos and New Look are keen to source more from the UK but are unwilling and unable to until they can be confident that factories meet the required standards.
As the UK prepares for eventual Brexit, it needs all its industries to be firing on all cylinders. Textile factories that cannot be trusted to observe the law will make no useful contribution to the economy.
Cleaning up the fashion supply chain would be good for Leicester, good for retail and good for British business generally.
Lidl wins record market share
Disruption in grocery retail is not over yet, the latest Kantar data showed.
Value specialist Lidl is now the seventh-biggest supermarket group in the UK, the research revealed.
It is winning trade in particular from families, and its appeal to them in particular enabled Lidl to up its average basket size.
Kantar flagged one particularly stark stat this week. The big four grocers’ market share has fallen from 76.3% five years ago to 69.3% now.
No wonder the grocery landscape is being transformed by deals as the established players seek new channels to market.