Brands distance themselves from Bangladesh factory collapse

Following the recent disaster, retailers and marketers alike are scrambling to defend both their labels and their brands. Will consumers take their money elsewhere?

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Some retail giants are scrambling to distance themselves from the apparel trade in Bangladesh, after a building collapse in Bangladesh killed more than 700 garment industry workers.

Others are taking a big gamble that the public will quickly forget the tragic event and get back to business as usual.

But it might not be that easy to overcome this latest in a series of disasters at clothing factories that’s tainting the billion-dollar industry. The public is getting smarter, and people are figuring out that they can influence corporate giants through purchasing power.

Claims by some manufacturers that their products weren’t even made in the collapsed building is turning out to be far from true, as their labels were found in the rubble.

The CEO of the Canadian company Loblaw— whose discount clothing brand Joe Fresh was made in the factory—stood out, going against the tide of denials by accepting responsibility and saying there were at least 28 other brands using the factories. He urged his counterparts at other clothing companies to end their “deafening silence.”

The one-off responses and denials are more effective individually, but taken as a whole they sound hollow. Responses kept to the theme of shock, compassion, and pending investigations, as well as potential safety measures.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.