Embattled fashion retailer Quiz faces fresh trouble as it’s hit by claims of underpaying workers
- Fashion has been one of the sectors worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic
- The National Minimum Wage for workers above the age of 25 is £8.72 per hour
- Quiz said its suppliers have to abide by the company’s Ethical Code of Practice
Fast-fashion company Quiz has said it is ‘extremely concerned’ by claims made as part of an undercover investigation that one of its suppliers was underpaying workers.
The firm stated it was ‘very grateful to the press for highlighting the alleged breaches’ and was committed to conducting a ‘full review’ of its auditing processes.
It is the latest issue to hit the struggling clothing brand after its store-owned business went into administration last month after experiencing declining footfall and sales at its high street stores in recent years.
Quiz is the second fast fashion retailer to have received allegations this month that one of its suppliers was underpaying staff at a factory in Leicester
The firm is known for using reality television stars from shows such as Love Island and The Only Way is Essex to model their clothes.
Two years ago, its share price was trading above 200p, but by the end of 2018, it had plummeted by more than three-quarters, and has continued to dive since.
Quiz has issued a series of profit warnings and been hit by the collapse of House of Fraser, where Quiz operated many of its concessions.
The department store chain went into administration in 2018 and was consequently forced to close over half its establishments.
When Quiz’s store-based business fell in administration, chief executive Tarak Ramzan did repurchase the division in order to be able to renegotiate the company’s rents, though the firm announced that 93 jobs would be lost.
Quiz has also blamed economic uncertainty for its troubles. It fell to a pretax loss of £6.8million in the six months to September 30 last year, compared with a £3.8million profit over the same period the prior year.
Its problems were exacerbated by the lockdown, which forced the company to close all its stores as they were considered non-essential.
Chief executive Tarak Ramzan stated that the firm was ‘extremely concerned and disappointed’ by the claims made as part of The Times’ undercover investigation
Fashion has been one of the sectors worst-hit by the coronavirus crisis as fewer people purchased clothes and fashion shops closes their doors.
Primark has been especially affected as it has no online presence to offset its losses from the reduction in footfall at its high street outlets.
The latest problem to hit Quiz came less than a week after a Sunday Times investigation claimed a clothes factory in Leicester that supplied fashion for the Nasty Gal brand was underpaying its staff and operating while the city was in lockdown.
In response to the allegations, the company said it had appointed a barrister Alison Levitt QC to look into the claims.
Boohoo’s share price has also dived in the last fortnight after an investigation claimed a Leicester-based clothes factory that supplied fashion for the firm’s Nasty Gal brand was underpaying its staff
Six days after the Sunday Times claims’, an undercover reporter from The Times revealed she been told by bosses at a Leicester garment factory that she would have to do two days of unpaid work before being paid between £3 and £4 per hour for packing clothes.
This is less than half the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for workers above the age of 25, which is £8.72 per hour. The reporter was told that her salary could rise to £8-£9 per hour with experience.
Quiz admitted that one of its suppliers might have used a sub-contractor despite instructions not to do so. It has now suspended its ties with that supplier pending further investigation.
Chief executive Tarak Ramzan stated: ‘We are thoroughly investigating this incident and will also conduct a fuller review of our supplier auditing processes to ensure that they are robust. We will update our stakeholders in due course.’
Quiz said its suppliers have to abide by the company’s Ethical Code of Practice and that any company found in violation of the rules would have their relationship with Quiz ‘terminated.’