// Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM) has been accused of not paying bills
// EWM said the bills represent unsold stock which is now down to £2m to £3m
Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group has reportedly been criticised by manufacturers in Bangladesh over allegations that it has not paid its bills.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) wrote in a letter on May 26 to EWM to address that the group should stop asking for discounts otherwise it would be blocked from placing future orders.
Bangladeshi suppliers to EWM accused it of taking “undue advantage of the Covid-19 situation” and “demanding unreasonable discounts,” Drapers reported.
- Edinburgh Woollen Mill responds to Bangladesh Association’s blacklist threat
- Coronavirus: Philip Day inserts pandemic clauses into Bonmarché leases
Suppliers had asked for payment by May 29 for goods already received by the group’s shipping agents before March 25.
It asked for payment by June 5 for those orders already placed.
One of the suppliers said that during the first week of April, EWM cancelled all the orders, including goods that were shipped out.
Some time later, they asked for a 70 per cent discount from many suppliers over phone.
Then in mid-April, they called with the request of a 30 per cent discount and payment after the goods were sold – which was refused.
Another supplier said EWM called BGMEA at the beginning of May to ask for goods that were already in the UK port to return back to Bangladesh, which was “quite impossible”.
EWM then called and asked for a 30 per cent discount, which was also not possible.
Philip Day’s retail group, which owns Bonmarché, Peacocks, Austin Reed and Jaeger, had been negotiating with individual suppliers on a case-by-case basis.
Last week, it said it had reached agreement with most of its suppliers, and “discussions with them have been wholly positive”.
EWM added that it had “already paid for the majority of future stock”.
The company said the unpaid bills is a combined amount for outstanding stock back in March.
It added that the figure of outstanding stock is now between £2 million and £3 million.
However, the BGMEA has since responded to EWM’s claims, saying it is “disappointed” the retailer has questioned its motives.
“We have operated in Bangladesh for 30 years without any issues or problems at all, and continue to feel we have strong and positive relationships with the vast majority of suppliers,” An EWM spokesperson told Retail Gazette.