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Wal-Mart supplier denies knowing clothes made in Bangladesh factory

December 08, 2012|By Shan Li
  • The Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh, where a fire killed more than 100 people last month.
The Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh, where a fire killed more than… (A.M. Ahad / Associated Press )

After the Bangladesh factory fire that killed more than 100 workers in November, retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fired a supplier making clothes at the facility. Now that supplier has come forward to say it wasn't aware its clothes were stitched there, reports say.

Success Apparel said in a statement to Bloomberg that it placed an order with Simco, a Wal-Mart-approved supplier, to fulfill orders. Simco then doled out about 7% of the order to Tuba Group, owner of the now infamous Tazreen Design factory in Bangladesh, according to Success.

“This factory is not on our matrix and we have never done business with them,” Success said in the statement to Bloomberg. “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.”

A workers' rights group found documents in the remains of the fire that reportedly pointed to at least five suppliers making clothes for Wal-Mart at the factory this year.

Wal-Mart was not the only retailer connected to the factory. After the fire, Sears said a supplier was using the facility to make apparel without informing the company.

Industry experts say the tragedy highlights the complexity of the global supply chain, where retailers use vast networks of vendors and manufacturers to churn out their products. Analysts say it can be extremely difficult to keep tabs on every part of the process.

Protests have erupted in Bangladesh as textile workers rally. Police have arrested three factory supervisors who are suspected of locking in workers after survivors told authorities that exit doors would not open when they tried to flee, the Associated Press reported.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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