// Bangladeshi factories have had orders cancelled worth £730m when stores closed during lockdown
// The Covid-19 pandemic caused non-essential stores to close in late March
// The garments sector represents 95% of Bangladesh’s total exports
UK retailers have cancelled orders worth £730 million with Bangladeshi factories when stores closed during the first Covid-19 lockdowns.
The pandemic caused non-essential stores to close in late March and clothing retailers were the hardest hit as many had just taken delivery of their spring and summer collections.
With stock trapped in closed stores, fashion chains delayed and cancelled their orders with suppliers.
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Traidcraft Exchange, which campaigns on fair trade, revealed that UK suppliers — led by Primark, Mothercare and Debenhams — had cancelled $1 billion (£720 million) of Bangladeshi orders by June.
The garments sector represents 95 per cent of Bangladesh’s total exports and its clothing factories employ more than four million people.
Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Inditex and H&M committed to pay in full for orders completed and in production, while Primark reversed its previous opposition and said in July that it would pay for all outstanding orders.
However, Traidcraft said that it was unclear when these orders would be delivered and therefore how delayed the payment would be.
Traidcraft said that suppliers had accused retailers including White Stuff and Sports Direct of extending payment terms to between 120 and 180 days.