Boohoo hit by brand pricing complaints
Boohoo is in the spotlight again. This time the online fast-fashion retailer is to investigate why the same items of clothing were sold for different prices across a number of its fashion labels.
Hot on the heels of moves to improve its battered product sourcing systems, the new probe comes after the BBC discovered that Dorothy Perkins and Coast, now owned by Boohoo, sold exactly the same coat but it cost £34 more at the latter label.
There are also claims that price disparities appear across a range of Boohoo brands, which also include Oasis and Warehouse.
Boohoo said the "miscommunication was not intentional” as "all Boohoo group brands work independently. Teams are not privy to what's being bought and sold across the other group brands," a spokeswoman for Boohoo told the broadcaster.
"Our internal investigation continues and we will be re-pricing all the crossover stock to be aligned", it added.
The price disparity was revealed after a BBC reporter bought a coat from Coast and a friend happened to buy the exact same coat from Dorothy Perkins. The Dorothy Perkins branding appeared to have been cut from the care label in the coat sold by Coast.
Boohoo said the coat was first sold by Coast and has now been re-priced at £17 on both brands' websites.
Catherine Erdly, founder of The Resilient Retail Club consultancy, and a former senior merchandiser at Coast, told the BBC: "If all Boohoo are going to do is buy the same stuff and slap different prices on it then it's destroying that brand's identity”.
She said that while each brand will have its own "architecture" for setting prices, it is likely Coast and Dorothy Perkins had benefited from some kind of trading "opportunity", where a supplier had stock and both companies needed coats.
The broadcaster also revealed a number of instances where the same item of clothing is priced differently across Boohoo's brands.
A long ‘luxe' padded coat in the colour mushroom was originally sold for £89 at Oasis and £65 at Dorothy Perkins. The same coat in khaki was in the sale for £30 at Warehouse and £66.75 at Coast. Since revealing the disparity by the BBC, they are now both priced at £18.
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