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Loblaw CEO troubled by silence of other retailers

Rob Gillies, Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) -- The chief executive of a Canadian company said Thursday he's troubled by the "deafening silence" of other apparel retailers that used a Bangladeshi garment factory that collapsed last week.

Loblaw Inc. CEO Galen Weston said before the company's annual meeting that as many as 30 international apparel brands were having goods manufactured in this building yet only two have come forward to speak publicly.

Products for Loblaw's Joe Fresh clothing line are made there. Britain's Primark has also acknowledged it was using a factory.

The illegally constructed, eight-story Rana Plaza collapsed in a heap as thousands of people worked inside in five garment factories. More than 430 are dead and 149 people are still missing.

In the early aftermath of the tragedy a photo of the Joe Fresh label emerged.

Weston said Loblaw will include the structural integrity of buildings in audits of suppliers now and said the company will now have its own staff on the ground to help with the inspections of its supplier companies.

The company previously announced it is setting up a relief fund to help victims and families of those killed in both the Bangladesh disaster.

"We must do a much better job to ensure the safety of workers producing our products in Bangladesh and around the world," Joe Mimran, the creator of Joe Fresh, said.

Mimran and Weston said they are not considering leaving the country.

"To pull out might start to create even more hardship for the country," Mimran said.