Fast fashion retailer New Look has announced that new stores opening this year will have separate entrances for male and female customers. The announcement, which seems to be digressive rather than progressive, follows the recent introduction of menswear to the clothing chains.
CEO Kristiansen Anders has spoken about his ambitions to make the retailer a successful “dual-gender brand”. New Look’s recent decision however, has been immediately questioned by the renowned retail consultant Mary Portas who was commissioned by the government in 2011 to lead a review into the future of the high street. Portas described the concept of gender specific entrances as “a bit mad”.
A spokesperson for the British high street chain told The Independent: “We can confirm that we will be opening new stores this year with separate menswear and womenswear entrances to further promote New Look Men to our customers.”
Portas further commented that “New Look isn’t well known as a destination for menswear and using their stores in this way is an effective way of driving home that point. That said, when nearly 60% of buying decisions are made by women – and they often buy for their men – it seems a bit mad to push your clothing out from under our noses. Also shopping with a partner is fun, so why would you cut that out by having separate doors?”
While Retail Expert Paul Turner-Mitchell said that the new scheme seems to be a “backwards step”. “A lot of the time you’re shopping in couples so to effectively split up a couple at the door, I think, is a bit of an own goal really. You should be encouraging couples to shop together to drive sales”.
Kristiansen stated last week that he expected the move to result in a 25% sales increase in New Looks menswear division over the next year. Currently, menswear only makes up 3.8% of the retailer’s total sales.