Thought leadership

Identical clothing was sold at different prices across Boohoo’s brands due to a “genuine mistake and not business practice”, the retailer says. The same coat was sold by Dorothy Perkins at £55 and Coast at £89 and the Coast item had the brand name cut off. Joanna Sikora ordered a skirt from Karen Millen and found it had an Oasis label with that branding crossed out.

Boohoo said it had not realised its companies had bought the same items and branded and priced them differently.

It comes as the BBC was sent further examples of coats on the Oasis and Coast websites at different prices. Jess, who asked us not to use her last name, spotted the khaki coats pictured, which have since been removed from both sites.

She said: “You buy a brand in good faith that what you are getting is exclusive to the company. I initially assumed that the previous instances were a slight mix up, however after finding these myself I now realise that this is common practice in Boohoo. It doesn’t speak well for the company if fooling the customer is their main method for turning a profit.”

Boohoo said these coats were part of an issue that arose when the coronavirus pandemic hit. The closure of non-essential stores to stop the spread of Covid saw thousands of High Street fashion chains shut their shops for good.

Boohoo bought up the online businesses of some of the fashion brands that went into administration. Most recently, it bought Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton from Arcadia. It acquired Karen Millen and Coast in August 2019.

Retailers that were forced to close their doors cancelled their orders with suppliers, a statement from Boohoo said. These suppliers then offered products they had already made for sale to other retailers that were still trading, it said.

Some of Boohoo’s brands bought some of this excess stock to fill gaps in their ranges as clothing stock began to run down. “Our mistake was not realising that some of our brands had purchased the same items from suppliers,” the statement said. “Therefore we failed to make sure prices were the same across our group of brands.”

Boohoo said the problem affected “about 10 lines out of thousands”, it was confident the issue was fixed and has apologised to customers.

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