Mango talks down ties to Bangladesh plant

Spanish clothing giant Mango said on Thursday it had placed only a 'small' number of sample orders for 25,000 items at a factory in a collapsed building in Bangladesh where more than 200 people died.

Mango talks down ties to Bangladesh plant
Miranda Kerr is the current face of Spanish fashion giant Mango. Photo: Eva Rinaldi

Spokeswoman Marta Soler Morera said the orders — placed between January and March for leggings, T-shirts and polo shirts according to documents seen by AFP — were "only for sample items".

She added in an email to AFP that "25,000 items are not a lot for a sample order for various lines of the brand" which is sold in 2,600 shops worldwide in 109 countries.

The manufacturer, Phantom-TAC, "is not an official supplier of Mango" and had not yet been fully audited, she said.

Only British low-cost fashion line Primark has acknowledged having its products made in the factory bloc, which imploded on Wednesday morning raising further concern about safety and working conditions in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh Garment & Industrial Workers Federation said its activists had collected labels for the Tex brand belonging to French supermarket Carrefour, but the company denied having an official supplier in the building.

"A deeper investigation, started immediately, is under way," the company said.

The federation also provided production documents relating to orders by Benetton to New Wave Style, but the Italian label said "people involved in the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh were not Benetton Group's suppliers".

The Clean Clothes Campaign pressure group said labels linking European retailer C&A to the accident were also found at the scene. The group told AFP it had terminated its links with a manufacturer in the building in 2011.

Wal-Mart said it was investigating whether its clothes were being made in the now destroyed Rana Plaza, where thousands of relatives gathered Thursday hoping for news of their missing loved ones.

In November, the US giant admitted that its products were found at a factory were 111 people died in the local industry's worst fire, but it said the work had been sub-contracted without authorization by one of its official suppliers.

Such unofficial "outsourcing" is common in the industry where manufacturers face immense pressure from retailers to cut prices and deliver on time, say activists.

C&A and Hong Kong supplier Li & Fung confirmed they also had clothes cut at the factory.

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Amancio Ortega’s daughter to take over as Zara and Inditex boss

Marta Ortega, daughter of Spain's wealthiest man, will take over as chairwoman of the world's biggest fashion retailer in a generational shift for the firm, Inditex announced on Tuesday.

Amancio Ortega's daughter to take over as Zara and Inditex boss
Photo taken in 2016 shows the founder and chairman of the Inditex fashion group Amancio Ortega (R) with his daughter Marta Ortega. Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP

She will replace Pablo Isla, who has been chairman since 2011, in April, the company said in a statement. He was deputy chairman between 2005 and 2011.

Ortega, 37, has been working for the company in different areas for the last 15 years, even working anonymously as a shop employee at one point to learn the ins and outs of the company.

She is the youngest daughter of Amancio Ortega, 85, who founded fast-fashion giant Zara with his ex-wife Rosalia in 1975 in Spain’s northwestern region of Galicia.

He remains the firm’s largest shareholder with a 59 percent stake and is one of the world’s richest men.

“I have lived and breathed this company since my childhood, and I have learned from all the great professionals I have worked with over the last 15 years,” Marta Ortega said in the statement.

“I have always said that I would dedicate my life to building upon my parents’ legacy, looking to the future but learning from the past,” she added.

Inditex, which operates nearly 7,000 stores worldwide, posted a net profit of almost 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) during its first half of 2021, which runs between February and July.

The fashion group owns seven other brands in addition to Zara, including upmarket Massimo Dutti and teen label Stradivarius.

It is the world’s biggest fashion retailer, ahead of Swedish rival H&M.

Stocking shelves

Inditex thanked Isla, who is resigning, for his “leadership and vision” during his 17 years at the firm, saying the group had become “the leading company in its sector worldwide” under his watch.

It also hailed Marta Ortega, saying she “has led the strengthening of Zara’s brand image and fashion proposition, an area she will continue to oversee.”

She studied international business in London and carried out months-long stays in the departments of finance, accounting, sales analysis and design when she began working at Inditex.

Marta Ortega also briefly worked as an anonymous employee at the group’s shops in 2007, reportedly stocking shelves, to get a better understanding of how they operate.

Oscar Garcia Maceiras, who had become the company’s general counsel and secretary of the board in March, will become CEO “effective immediately”, Inditex said.

Her will replace Carlos Crespo, who took the post two years ago. Crespo will remain chief operating officer.