New Look accused of charging "Fat Tax"

New Look is in hot water with the plus size community for appearing to charge a "fat tax" for nearly identical articles of clothing. A pair of pants in their Curve section was found to be marked up for 15 percent more than an identical pair among their straight sizes.

Maria Wassell, a retail supervisor in London, announced she was boycotting the chain after noticing the pricing difference while shopping at the retailer's Ashford branch. The price for the Curves style were 22 pounds and 99 cents while the price for the ones among the mainline sizes were 19 pounds and 99 cents.

Wassell, whose curiosity was now piqued, went on to the retailer's website where she found a t-shirt with the slogan "tres jolie" across that she had purchased for 12 pounds and 99 cents for the price of 9 pounds and 99 cents amongst the mainline offerings.

Wassell told The Daily Telegraph that "It's like I'm being discriminated against for being plus size when I'm only slightly bigger than average. The average size for a British woman is now a size 16. Plus size purchases are on the increase. If you look at the statistics, there's more money being spent on plus size clothing now then there was even three years ago. Why should we be penalized for being slightly bigger? A lot of retailers do this. Some retailers have claimed that plus size clothes need more fabric and that's why it costs more. That's basically rubbish. I used to work for a plus size brand so I do understand a lot about how it works."

Wassell believes that the price disparities is actually alienating New Look from their targeted customer base because shoppers will be turned off by the double standards in pricing. "I shop in the Curves range myself. I purchased a green striped top at the weekend from their plus size range and when I looked online that same top was 3 pounds cheaper for those size 16 and under," she said to The Daily Telegraph. "It's discriminating against those customers who are larger. Even the trousers in their tall range, which would also require more fabric, are the same price as the normal ones. I'm annoyed."

A New Look spokesman told The Daily Telegraphy, "To ensure pricing differences like these don't happen in future, we are in the process of reviewing the pricing structure of our plus size collection in a way which works best for our customers and our business. We are proud of the ranges we offer to our plus size customers and value all customers, no matter what their body shape or size."

The plus-size market has been a driving factor for apparel and retail growth in the U.K. According to a report by PwC, growth in the plus size segment has been forecasted between 5 and 6 percent for 2017-22 (with womenswear expected to grow at c.4-5 percent p.a. and menswear at c.6-8 percent p.a., based on BMI assumptions).

photo: via Newlook.com
 

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