Chairman of the Pakistani clothes manufacturers association PRGMEA, Shehzad Saleem, said the firm which ran the factory, Ali Enterprises, had named Kik as as one of potentially numerous German partners.
Kik, based in Bönen, North-Rhine-Westphalia, is owned by Tengelmann. It admitted on Tuesday it had been buying mostly jeans from the factory in Karachi for years.
The discounter said it was saddened by the 289 deaths in the factory and said it would work with other customers of Ali Enterprises to establish a fund to help survivors, and families of those who died.
It also said it had contracted out the job of making checks on factories – and would now try to find out why this had obviously not worked.
Two years ago Kik published a 90-page sustainability report which stressed the responsibility of contractors for producers, in areas such as work conditions, labour rights, social standards and wages.
The Campaign for Clean Clothes (CCC) criticised Kik, alongside Aldi and Lidl, this year for exerting too much pressure on their producers. “They demand good quality, fast delivery and pay badly,” said Lars Stubbe from CCC.
Countries which promote themselves with low minimum wages add to the pressure on manufacturers, and the results were often what CCC called catastrophic work conditions.
Kik has itself been the focus of criticism in the past – for low wages and a data protection scandal. Since then it has introduced a minimum wage and produced a sustainability report.
It employs 20,000 staff in more than 3,000 shops across Europe and latest figures showed an annual turnover of €1.66 billion.