Debenhams has today introduced size 16 mannequins to its flagship Oxford Street store to better represent the shape of real women.

The department store has introduced the dummies alongside its usual size 10 mannequins.

The move, first tipped in September, follows calls from equalities minister Jo Swinson for retailers to use mannequins with different body shapes to help promote healthier attitudes to bodies among women.

The new mannequins will be rolled out across the country in the coming months.

Dorothy Perkins and Wallis use size 10-12 mannequins while Topshop and Miss Selfridge generally use size 10 dummies.

A Debenhams spokesman said: “We felt it was important to better represent what real women actually look like when advertising our clothes.”

In September, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said retailers already work hard to promote body confidence. “This can involve using a diverse range of mannequins and models, but also covers practical examples such as ensuring clothing is available in a wide range of sizes and offering advice in-store and online on figure-flattering clothes for customers that request it.”