Fashion chain New Look is reviewing its prices after an outcry that some larger-sized clothes were more expensive than those in smaller sizes.
The High Street retailer said it was hoping to “ensure pricing differences like these” did not happen in future. It comes after a shopper saw trousers in its Curves range cost 15% more than a pair in the main collection.
The issue has divided opinion over whether using more material should mean higher prices. Some have said it is reasonable to charge more for a garment that uses more fabric. Others see it as a “fat tax”.
Plus-size model Nyome Nicholas-Williams told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she felt the application of higher prices was discriminatory: “Some people don’t choose to be the size they are – or height. If you have to pay extra money [for clothes] subliminally it feels like you are being told you have to lose weight.”
However, Anna Scholz, a plus-size fashion designer, told the programme there was a limit to the size range that could be produced for the same price as it can take twice the fabric to make the same shirt for a larger size as a small one: “As a company we sell from size 16 to 28 – if I had smaller sizes as well I would have to price them differently.”
Maria Wassell, a retail supervisor from Kent, spotted the discrepancy at her local branch in Ashford in Kent.
She told the Sun newspaper: “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.”
Ms Wassell said she used to work for a plus-size brand, and the argument that clothes for bigger sizes needed to be priced more highly was “basically rubbish”.
New Look said in a statement: “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.”
Earlier this year, New Look announced it would close 60 UK stores and cut 1,000 jobs as part of a financial restructuring.