WOOLIES: 3,581 +34 (+0.96%)
South Africa's Woolworths pulls baby carriers after copying scandal
JOHANNESBURG, Jan 10 (Reuters) - South African retailer
Woolworths has removed a baby carrier from its shelves,
admitting it had "striking similarities" to a product offered by
a small boutique retailer.
The company found itself at the centre of a media storm this
week after the owner of Ubuntu Baba, Shannon McLaughlin, wrote a
blog post stating that Woolworths was selling a product of the
same colour, design and name as hers, for a third of the price.
"While there are differences in our baby carrier, there are
striking similarities which we acknowledge and take
responsibility for," the firm said in a statement, sent to
Reuters on Thursday.
It apologised to McLaughlin and customers over the issue,
which it said went against its policy, and said the lapse was
being addressed internally, including via the training of staff,
suppliers and partners.
The incident has been embarrassing for the retailer, which
was embroiled in a copying scandal in 2016 when South Africa's
Advertising Standards Authority ruled the packaging on a range
of its soft drinks imitated that of small drinks firm Frankies.
McLaughlin told Reuters on Thursday while she was pleased
the carriers had been withdrawn, a number of other individuals
had been in touch with her to say large firms, including
Woolworths, had done something similar with their products.
"It can't just end there," she said, adding it needed to
publicly state what steps it is going to take to prevent this
from happening again.
(Reporting by Emma Rumney; editing by David Evans)
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