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PwC to step down as Boohoo auditor

Accountancy firm PwC is to step down from its role as auditors of fast fashion chain Boohoo after six years in the position. 

According to the Financial Times, PwC has resigned from its role due to concerns over the retailer’s governance following allegations of malpractice in its supply chain that led to a full independent review of its processes.

However, in an update this morning Boohoo denied that PwC resigned from the role, but instead said that it had launched a competitive tender process for the position.

It did confirm that PwC will not take part in the tender process due to it serving as auditor since 2014. 

It said: “The Group would like to place on record that PwC is still the group’s auditor at this time. The group’s Audit Committee has recently launched a competitive tender process for the group’s audit, and will update shareholders at its conclusion. 

“PwC signed an unqualified opinion on the group’s 2020 Financial Statements and having served as the group’s auditor since 2014, is not participating in this process.”

The news comes after Boohoo published the results and response to the independent review of its UK supply chain.

Alison Levitt QC was appointed to conduct the review, with a purpose to “consider boohoo’s obligations and duties of care in relation to the workforce in its Leicester supply chain”.

The report “identified many failings” in the Leicester supply chain and recommended improvements to boohoo’s related corporate governance, compliance and monitoring processes.

It added there was “ample evidence” that the steps which Boohoo is taking to remedy supply chain issues had been implemented nearly a year ago, adding that “they were a product of processes it had itself put in place and not just a reaction to the negative publicity in July and August 2020”.

The report stated: “Nevertheless, with the benefit of hindsight we regret that these processes did not advance quickly enough.

“Ms Levitt is satisfied that boohoo did not deliberately allow poor conditions and low pay to exist within its supply chain, it did not intentionally profit from them and its business model is not founded on exploiting workers in Leicester.”

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