Retail Refugees

Prada contraversy in Japan
May 17, 2010, 1:59 pm
Filed under: Fashion | Tags: ,

A former retail manager at Prada Japan, Rina Bovrisse (pictured), has claimed that the retailer forced employees to buy Prada bags and other items in order to cover up the fact that sales were falling. Bovrisse faced the luxury retailer in complaint court in Japan. That case was ruled “unsettled,” and so a civil lawsuit was filed.

Bovrisse and two other former employees claim that, beginning in January 2009, the company forced its workers to purchase products. The sales could not be entered as employee purchases but had to be entered as a customer’s full price purchase. That way the purchases would give Prada Milan, the worldwide headquarters of the brand, the impression that Japanese stores were meeting their sales targets. Employees were then paid back out of funds that were to be used for the company’s holiday party and were marked as as “campaign” salary. But even then the employees were responsible for taxes on what was considered bonus pay and had to pay additional money. This situation limped along for a while and even after the reimbursements ran dry some Prada Japan employees were told that they needed to continue to purchase products or else the company would be forced to downsize. The requirements continued and Bovrisse says she personally bought $20,000 worth of products. Employees were strapped, they were struggling to pay their bills but were also scared that if they didn’t buy they wouldn’t have jobs. It’s unclear when if ever Prada Milan knew about the program but so far it has denied responsibility for the program.

(via Luxist)


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