Morrisons, Next, Asda and Gap indirectly sourced from the Bangladesh mill where 10 people died in a fire yesterday.
The retailers’ suppliers sourced fabric from the Aswad mill.
Next said as Aswad was a third party fabric supplier it had not inspected the mill.
The retailer said: “As the cause of the fire is unknown, it is not clear whether any audit would have prevented this tragedy. Once the cause is known, as routine Next will review its procedures, including the extent to which it needs to look further down the supply chain - particularly in high risk areas such as Bangladesh.”
“Next is deeply saddened by events and its immediate thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones or have been hurt. Next is already in contact with the other major UK retailers involved, to decide how best to coordinate immediate help for victims and their families.”
Morrisons also confirmed that its supplier Palmal is “likely” to have used fabrics from the Aswad mill.
George at Asda has sourced fabric from the factory, as have suppliers to parent company Walmart. A Gap spokeswoman said that, while it does not directly source products from the mill, it too had used fabric from it.
A George at Asda spokeswoman said: “We are deeply saddened by what has happened and our thoughts go out to the families and victims of the accident. George at Asda has a long standing relationship with Aswad Mill, we do source fabric from there and we are working with the owner to ensure we help them however we can.
“As part of the Walmart family we have a safety programme that rigorously inspects the factories that make our garments and other products. Typically that program does not extend to the facilities that make materials like fabric for those garment factories. Given the situation in Bangladesh, we, along with Walmart, believe the Government of Bangladesh and the industry should consider whether to extend factory safety programs to this next level of production.”
Meanwhile, Primark said that it stopped using the mill in March this year after violations of its code of conduct were identified.
A Primark spokesman said: “Primark placed its last order in March of this year, indicating that it would place no further orders following the identification of violations of its code of conduct and management’s unwillingness to resolve these to Primark’s satisfaction. A small amount of outstanding orders was stored in the warehouse at the Aswad Composite Mills site, awaiting shipment.”
The Aswad fire comes after the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka in April which killed more than 1,100 people.
The disaster led to an industry-wide move to improve safety in the country. Retailers including Primark, H&M, River Island and Arcadia have signed up to the Bangladesh factory safety Accord led by union IndustriALL.
The Primark spokesman added: “Incidents like this demonstrate the requirement for the Accord to be effective, and for all members to work in collaboration for sustainable change in Bangladesh.
“Primark will work with other brands and stakeholders through the Accord to support the employees and their families.”