As major British apparel retailer Next Plc slashed its work order volume, Bangladesh has already started feeling the pinch of Brexit, claims a senior official of a sourcing company. The UK is the third largest garment export destination for Bangladesh after the US and Germany.
Next, is the largest clothing retailer in the UK. It had planned to buy about $260 million worth apparels from Bangladesh in 2016. But in the end, the clothing, footwear and home products retailer sourced about $180 million of garment items, it is understood. Next usually purchases $10-$20 million more than its annual target. Last year was an exception. Next sources clothing worth more than $500 million from Bangladesh in two ways: either directly from garment factories or indirectly through sourcing companies. The purchase volume of Next through third party vendor agencies might have also shrunk last year.
Simon Wolfson, CEO of Next, held a meeting with suppliers in Bangladesh on December 22 last year to inform them about the challenging landscape it was staring at. Established in 1982, Next has around 750 stores, of which 550 are in the UK and Ireland. In 2016, its total sales stood at £4.1 billion, up slightly from the previous year. In fiscal 2015-16, Bangladesh's garment exports to the UK soared 21.37 percent to $3.52 billion, reads a data of the Export Promotion Bureau.