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Boohoo shares fall on report of possible US export ban

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·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·2 min read
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File photo dated 15/2/2021 of signage on a boohoo store in London. Boohoo has said it is not
Signage on a boohoo store in London. Boohoo has said it is not "aware of any investigation" by US Customs and Border Protection following reports it could face a US import ban over labour abuse allegations. Photo: PA

Shares in fast fashion retailer Boohoo (BOO.L) fell more than 5% on Tuesday after a report claimed the company could face a ban on exporting to the US.

Sky News reported on Tuesday that US Customs and Border Protection had launched an investigation into Boohoo following petitions from a UK-based lawyer campaigning against modern slavery. Duncan Jepson, who runs campaign group Liberty Shared, told Sky there was "compelling" evidence that Boohoo was using forced labour in its supply chain.

Shares in Boohoo fell as much as 5% on the report. US sales made up around a fifth of the company's revenues last year.

Boohoo shares dropped substantially on Tuesday morning. Photo: Yahoo Finance UK
Boohoo shares dropped substantially on Tuesday morning. Photo: Yahoo Finance UK

Boohoo said in a statement it had not been contacted by US Customers and Border Protection and said it was not aware of any investigation.

The company said it was "confident in the actions it is taking" to meet US import standards and "continues to fulfil orders to customers in the US across all of its brands."

"The Group will work with any competent authority to provide assurance that products from its supply chain meet the required standard," Boohoo said.

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"Over the past 8 months the Group has been working closely with UK enforcement bodies. If the Group were to discover any suggestion of modern day slavery it would immediately disclose this to the relevant authorities."

Last year undercover reporters exposed poor working conditions in Boohoo's supply chain and alleged workers were paid below minimum wage. An independent report by Alison Levitt QC identified “many failings.”

Boohoo hired Sir Brian Leveson in November to help overhaul the organisation in response to the report. An interim report published in January said Boohoo had stopped working with 64 suppliers who were found to be substandard. KPMG has been hired to oversee the reform process and Boohoo has appointed a new non-executive director to bring oversight.

"The Group and Sir Brian Leveson will continue to provide stakeholders with further updates on its Agenda for Change programme, including publication of its first Annual Sustainability Report alongside its 2021 Annual Report and Accounts," Boohoo said on Tuesday.

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