A SCOTTISH initiative to help Bangladeshi families hit by cancelled clothing orders has surpassed its sales target for the whole year in just over two weeks since launch.

Lost Stock, launched by Edinburgh-based personal shopping app Mallzee in mid-May, had targeted to sell 10,000 boxes of cancelled fashion items by the end of May and 50,000 by the end of 2020.

It has already sold more than 80,000 of the clothing boxes, which each feed a family in Bangladesh for one week.

“Covid-19 is a health and economic crisis in the UK but it’s going to be a humanitarian crisis in countries like Bangladesh unless support is provided,” said Mallzee chief executive Cally Russell.

“With no safety net available for some of the poorest workers in the fashion supply chain, we couldn’t sit back and do nothing – leaving families to starve and new clothing heading to landfill. Through Mallzee we have a relationship with over 1.5 million UK shoppers so we have come up with a way to enable them to save lives as they shop.”

More than $2 billion of stock orders have been cancelled by retailers, leaving manufacturers in Bangladesh unable to pay workers and with mountains of unwanted stock, Mallzee says. Lost Stock aims to solve this problem by selling £35 fashion boxes containing at least £70-worth of clothing, matched to the purchaser's size and fashion preferences.

Mallzee is running Lost Stock in partnership with Bangladeshi non-governmental organization the SAJIDA Foundation, which works across 26 districts of Bangladesh with a mission of ‘health, happiness and dignity for all’. In response to Covid-19, its team of more than 3,700 people are providing food and hygiene packages, distributing essential PPE kits and installing portable hand washing devices throughout the country.

Muhymin Chowdhury, head of challenge fund and fundraising for SAJIDA, said: “Cancelled orders have affected over 1,000 factories and the lives of 2.27 million workers and their families. A recent study found that 47% of these workers now have no income – we are working to deliver them basic necessities.”