Big Girls Do Cry
By Bernice Hurst, Contributing
Once again, a group of
consumers with a shared interest have come together in cyberspace and persuaded
a retailer to change policy. Large-breasted British women whose preferred
bra supplier is Marks and Spencer were unhappy that the store was charging
an extra £2 ($3) for cup sizes over DD.
Beckie Williams, a customer
who had no luck protesting, bought a single share in the company. Her investment
of just £3.40 ($5) meant she could attend the annual meeting and speak
directly to chairman, Sir Stuart Rose. "We do go to other shops but
Marks and Spencer have the biggest share in the lingerie market in the
country," she said.
In the meantime, the
press picked up the story and her Facebook group (Busts 4 Justice), enrolled
14,000 members within days, causing the proverbial U-turn. M&S announced
that bras of all sizes would be sold for the same price.
Internet aside, however,
there is a principle at stake. Company spokesperson, Jessica Harris, claimed
that larger items cost more to produce as they entail more work, that they
are the "most competitively priced on the high street" and "our
customers have told us they are happy to pay a small premium for the specialist
work to ensure suitable level of support, innovation and technology that
goes into the bras."
Competitors such as Asda,
however, decided to seize what they saw as an opportunity by emphasizing
"one price for all" prices. Spokeswoman Leah Watson explained that
in spite of losing money on large bras, they don’t want big-busted women
to be penalized. "Obviously the majority of women can’t choose their
shape," she said. "People who are shopping on a budget shouldn’t
have to pay more to look good or to feel good."
Trying to shine a favorable
light on their actions, M&S placed full-page ads announcing the change.
Headed "We boobed", they admitted, "We were wrong, so…the
storm in a D cup is over." A 25 percent reduction on all bras will
be applied for two weeks.
questions: Should retailers adjust their prices higher if a bigger apparel
size costs more? Will
this lose them customers? Or should they accept reduced margins on larger
- Battle over bras for
bigger busts – BBC
- Women challenge Marks &
Spencer bra pricing policy – The Associated Press/Google
- M&S admits bra price boob – Guardian