Sewing needles discovered in M&S clothing

Author: By Steve Bloomfield and Tom Anderson

Marks & Spencer is attempting an urgent recall of 12,000 items of children’s clothing after parents found sewing machine needles still attached to the garments.

Britain’s biggest clothing retailer issued the alert yesterday after two youngsters suffered scratches and their parents complained to stores.

The company launched an immediate investigation to discover why the needles were left inside the clothes by a Sri Lankan manufacturer.

“Customers who have purchased or received any of these products as gifts are asked to return them immediately,” said a spokeswoman.

“Sewing machine needles have been found in four items and, in two cases, children suffered scratches when they put the clothes on. We are in discussions with those customers about reparations and have launched an immediate investigation into the problem with our supplier.”

The company said it had been deliberately cautious. “We set the bar high at Marks & Spencer. Other retailers wouldn’t have bothered,” said the spokeswoman. “To put this in context, we sell more than 25 million items a year.”

Last month Marks & Spencer revealed that its profits fell by almost a fifth in 2004, from £805m to £618.5m. Stuart Rose, the firm’s chief executive, admitted trading conditions were “tough”.

The chain has struggled to compete in recent years and many of its clothing ranges have been judged unexciting. It spent much of last year warding off takeover attempts from Philip Green, head of the Arcadia group, which includes Topshop and Bhs.

The affected garments are a £5 pink two-pack jogger set, code T78/08455/2134P; £10 pink gingham dungarees, code T78/07980/3130P; and a £10 white T-shirt and denim jeans set, code T78/07980/3132P, all available since last month.

Also affected are pure cotton chambray pyjamas, code T86/07980/2727W, priced between £11 and £14, which have been available since March this year.

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