H&M, one of the country's largest global apparel buyers, has decided to temporarily suspend placing new orders to its listed supplier factories in Bangladesh amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Sources said the company also announced its commitment to take delivery of the already produced garments and goods in production and pay for the orders.
The commitments included not to ask local suppliers for discounts on existing orders, they added.
The Swedish retailer sources more than $3.0 billion worth of ready-made garment (RMG) items from Bangladesh annually, according to industry people.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has already have a huge impact on millions of garment workers in countries highly dependent on the textile industry, they added.
When asked, H&M Bangladesh country manager Ziaur Rahman confirmed to the FE about their latest decision.
"At this point, it is necessary to temporarily pause new orders," he said.
Mr Rahman assured that they would stand by their commitments to garment suppliers by taking delivery of the already produced garments and those in production.
"We will, of course, pay for these goods and we will do it under the agreed payment terms. In addition, we will not negotiate prices on the already placed orders."
Citing the ongoing global spread of coronavirus, the H&M representative said the entire fashion industry now faces its biggest challenge ever.
He, however, assured that they would utilise all their networks and contacts to find solutions that could contribute in the best possible way.
Mr Rahman said the situation has a significant impact on the company, including its supply chain, resulting in a substantial drop in global demand for apparel.
They are carefully scrutinising and evaluating how to adjust and mitigate the negative effects when it comes to "our supply chain and the textile workers".
As a priority, they would focus their efforts on countries that are highly dependent on the textile industry, he noted.
Earlier on March 08, as part of its precautionary measures immediately after the first three COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Bangladesh, H&M reduced its Dhaka office activities.
The firm cancelled its officials' factory visit and all meetings with external visitors.
According to the local garment makers and exporters body, some 1,025 factories reported cancellation of 864.17 million pieces worth $2.81-billion export orders and held up by buyers until March 29.
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