As the obesity epidemic grows in this country M&S is now trialling a clothing range for plus-size children. This is a very unsettling sign of our times and questions have been raised whether retailers should be offering such clothing.
As the obesity epidemic grows in this country Marks & Spencer is now trialling a clothing range for plus-size children. This is a very unsettling sign of our times and questions have been raised whether retailers should be offering such clothing.
M&S however is only responding to demand, a basic principle of any retailer, it is not condoning nor encouraging obesity in children, although retailers can do their part to help.
Supermarkets are continuing to do more to reduce salt, sugar and fat in foods and labelling their foods better but could fashion do more to encourage young people to be more active rather than play computer games and watch TV?
The big sports retailers do very little in this area and there could be a real opportunity there. Sweaty Betty have done really interesting things with their female customers – offering free fitness classes in stores and local running clubs. Independent sports retailers also offer similar activities.
It seems the larger chains, with their breadth and partnerships with powerful brands could also help encourage more sport in communities, particularly in the run up to the Olympics. Retailers such as Sports Direct and JJB Sports, who have been subject of such negative publicity in recent years, could also use it to improve their CSR standing.
There was a lot of press around the two year countdown to the Olympics this week and it will be a great opportunity for retailers. Those who have not made a firm plan for how they will benefit will be left behind.
The plus-size clothing market will continue to grow- and this is a commercial opportunity for retailers and a fact of modern life that we cannot escape from.
Fashion is often blamed for using models who are too skinny and they have been trying to address this. Curvier models are being used more regularly and the market is reacting to the changing shape of their consumer.
However they cannot be blamed for our growing waistlines but as large, well known and recognised businesses they can and should help to encourage healthier, more active lifestyles and interacting with their customers in this way could also grow brand engagement and have a real commercial benefit.