British brands linked to Bangladesh factory that burned down

Smouldering balls of yard litter floor of the garment factory Credit: ITV News/Jess Brammar

Six British brands had links to a large garment factory that burnt down in Bangladesh killing nine people, ITV News has revealed.

The deputy manager of the factory, Molla Boadnuzzamah, listed Next, Primark, George, Gap, H&M, and Morrisons as customers who were using the factory.

In the office of the blackened factory, ITV News found files and other documents labelled with names including George, H&M, Gap and Primark.

ITV News' Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg reports from Gazipur in Bangladesh:

Bangladeshi authorities are still investigating the cause of the blaze, but ITV News was told it started when a machine overheated in the factory's knitting room.

Flames swept through the large premises of Aswad Composite Mills sending workers rushing for the exits.

When ITV News arrived, there were still balls of yarn smoldering, buckled knitting machines and charred piles of cloth at the factory.

All but one of the British brands connected with the factory have spoken to ITV News today to clarify their relationship with the operation.

Asda said tonight that the factory is a long-standing supplier to the George clothing range, but that it supplies fabrics rather than finished clothes.

In a statement, George said that while it inspects factories that make its garments,"typically that program does not extend to the facilities that make materials like fabric".

It said it believes the industry should "consider whether to extend factory safety programs to this next level of production":

H&M said that while it does not have a "direct business relationship" with the factory, it works with a "sister unit" to the affected factory.

Charred machinery in the gutted remains of the factory Credit: ITV News/Jess Brammar

Primark told ITV News that it worked with a company called Palmal Group, which is says owned the factory where the blaze broke out.

Its statement said that it placed its last order in March, citing concerns over "violations of its code of conduct".

The retailer Next also said it had "no direct contact" with Aswad Composite Mills, but that it was a "third-party fabric supplier" to another factory it uses.

Morrisons also said it was "likely that fabric from the Aswad Composite Knits fabric mill in Gazipur would have been used to supply" another factory it has a relationship with.