A supplier fired by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) after a Bangladesh factory burned down last month was a New York-based firm with a more than 20-year relationship with the world’s largest retailer, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Success Apparel, the supplier, said in a statement it didn’t know its clothes were being made there. Wal-Mart said after the Nov. 24 blaze that killed more than 100 people it had fired one of its suppliers, without identifying the company.
Success said in the e-mailed statement that it placed an order with Simco, a Wal-Mart-approved supplier. Simco in turn subcontracted 7 percent of the order to Tuba Group, which owns the Tazreen Design Ltd. factory, Success said. At least five Wal-Mart suppliers, including Success, made clothes there this year, documents found by a labor-rights group show.
“This factory is not on our matrix and we have never done business with them,” Success said in the statement. “We have been a trusted supplier to Walmart for over two decades, never had any violations and complied with the highest ethical and safety standards that our company sets forth.”
Success “will continue to diligently work to insure that all workers who we engage worldwide are treated with the utmost regard for their safety and well-being,” the company said in the statement.
Success sourced Wal-Mart private-label shorts from the Tazreen factory via Simco, production reports provided by the Worker Rights Consortium, a labor-rights monitoring group based in Washington, show.
“We do not comment on supplier relationships,” Kevin Gardner, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said in an e-mail.
Purchase orders, shipment statements, inventory reports and other documents show that another New York-based supplier for Wal-Mart and a third in California sourced merchandise from Tazreen this year. Besides Simco, another company in Bangladesh also manufactured apparel there for Wal-Mart, the records show.
As recently as September, five of 14 production lines at the factory were making shirts and pajamas for Wal-Mart, an income report shows.
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