The Swedish clothing giant H&M, after being caught throwing away (and destroying) unsold clothes by a New York graduate student, will stop tossing its leftovers in the bin.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that "the chain said it will instead donate the garments to charity. Graduate student Cynthia Magnus contacted The New York Times after discovering bags of unworn but slashed clothing outside H&M in Herald Square."
H&M spokeswoman Nicole Christie told AP, "It will not happen again" and that she didn't know why the New York City outlet was destroying its unsold clothing -- which had holes punched through them by a machine, suggesting that the practice was official policy.
Magnus told The New York Times yesterday that she'd found clothes thrown out by an H & M store.
During her walks down 35th Street, Ms. Magnus said, it is more common to find destroyed clothing in the H & M trash. On Dec. 7, during an early cold snap, she said, she saw about 20 bags filled with H & M clothing that had been cut up.
“Gloves with the fingers cut off,” Ms. Magnus said, reciting the inventory of ruined items. “Warm socks. Cute patent leather Mary Jane school shoes, maybe for fourth graders, with the instep cut up with a scissor. Men’s jackets, slashed across the body and the arms. The puffy fiber fill was coming out in big white cotton balls.” The jackets were tagged $59, $79 and $129.
The Times reporter added that Wal-Mart's clothes have also been found trashed:
It is winter. A third of the city is poor. And unworn clothing is being destroyed nightly.
A few doors down on 35th Street, hundreds of garments tagged for sale in Wal-Mart — hoodies and T-shirts and pants — were discovered in trash bags the week before Christmas, apparently dumped by a contractor for Wal-Mart that has space on the block.
Each piece of clothing had holes punched through it by a machine.
H & M and Wal-Mart haven't offered an explanation for why their stores were destroying unsold clothes. A manager for H & M initially told the Times that inquiries about the store's disposal practices had to be made to the store's Swedish headquarters -- raising questions of whether the policy to destroy unsold clothes was sanctioned by the top.