Outdoors retailer Kathmandu has come under fire for slashing sleeping bags and clothing that could have been used by homeless people who sleep near one of its stores.

But the retail chain says it is doing nothing wrong, saying the destroyed stock was faulty - including tents that weren't water-proofed and sleeping bags that were "pretty much unusable" - and would be of little use to those living rough.

And a Kathmandu official said the company also had a track record of donating unsold products that were in a good state of repair to charity.

Discarded excess clothing stock included shoes. Photo / Nicole Barratt
Discarded excess clothing stock included shoes. Photo / Nicole Barratt

Four workers close to the company's Takapuna store in Barrys Point Rd have reported seeing Kathmandu staff "slashing sleeping bags" and "slicing through clothing" before tossing the damaged goods into dumpsters.

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Jamie Giles, who works nearby, said he witnessed staff destroying and dumping stock "at least five times" in the last year.

Co-worker Anna Horley said: "There's a homeless man who lives in the carpark next to Kathmandu, and the staff are slashing sleeping bags and tents right in front of him."

The actions of the Kathmandu staff sparked outrage on social media on Saturday.

Discarded excess clothing stock. Photo / Nicole Barratt
Discarded excess clothing stock. Photo / Nicole Barratt

But Kathmandu chief financial officer Reuben Casey said the company was doing nothing wrong.

The dumped goods were unusable - and fully functional products were often gifted to charities.

"The tents were not waterproof so they wouldn't have been fit for purpose," he said.

"Similarly with the airbags, they didn't actually inflate. The sleeping bags were very old and stained and pretty much unusable. We took them back from a customer.

Discarded excess clothing stock has been slashed and thrown out. Photo / Nicole Barratt
Discarded excess clothing stock has been slashed and thrown out. Photo / Nicole Barratt
Retail chain Kathmandu says it is simply destroying stock that was faulty. Photo / Nick Reed
Retail chain Kathmandu says it is simply destroying stock that was faulty. Photo / Nick Reed

"The reason we put slashes through the stuff is so that people don't take it out of bins and return it [to claim refunds], which does happen."

He said the company had donated unsold goods to charities in the past, but some items were not good enough to give away.

"If we are not going to sell it and it needs to be destroyed, that is a call made by the regional manager, but it is done at the individual store," he said.

"The store orders a skip and the product is put into the skip. The reason we have to do that is that otherwise people will try and return it."

Auckland City Mission homeless community team leader Wilf Holt said the mission would be happy to have a look at any unsold gear the next time Kathmandu wanted to throw it away.

"With something like a sleeping bag, as long as it's clear that it was not a human stain, as long as it's dry, streeties are not going to worry too much about it, and if a family needs it for an eiderdown or something they might be able to wash it."

Ironically, he said a man recently donated 100 sleeping bags to the mission which he had bought from Kathmandu "at a very, very good price, because he explained what he was going to do with them".

"We have been giving them out left, right and centre over the last few months, in fact I have just moved the last of them into a smaller storage space," he said.

Kathmandu's 2015 Sustainability Report says the company is "an industry leader in sustainability".

"At Kathmandu, we passionately believe in operating a responsible and ethical business," the report says.

Kathmandu's website states: "We strive to limit the waste generated from our products and our operations."

The company aims to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2018.

Additional reporting Nicole Barratt, sixfootjournalism