Marks & Spencer forced to respond to angry customers after controversial change

Customers were very unhappy about this.

marks spencer respond angry complaints gender neutral changing rooms
(Image credit: Getty)

Marks & Spencer were forced to respond to customers after angry complaints.

Customers took to social media to slam the high-street fashion after one patron pointed out a controversial change that they had noticed in the store.

Taking to Twitter to raise the controversial move, feminist campaigner Jean Hatchet revealed that an acquaintance of hers visited the store with her 15-year-old daughter for her first bra fitting.

Open changing rooms,’ she wrote. ‘Mother daughter bonding event. She daren’t talk about this but she’s furious. A man was in there. Trying on women’s underwear. Getting his kicks. In her words...’.

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She then wrote another Tweet outlining her friend’s words, writing, ‘“He doesn’t even have breasts +yet a 15 year old girl had to be fitted in the same space. Made my blood boil but I can’t say anything or I’ll be a hater. No one would even dream of putting a female child’s right to a safe space above a man’s to get kinky with women’s underwear”’.

‘She’s just an ordinary mum,’ added Jean. ‘She daren’t say anything out loud in case she loses her job. She is very new to feeling this way. But she feels angry. I asked her permission to post this.’

The enraged Twitter user then appealed to Marks & Spencer, writing, ‘Cubicle or no cubicle. Curtain or no curtain. Open space changing or not. Men should not have access to any of these female spaces alongside women.

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@marksandspencer please clarify your policy on female changing rooms.

Though it is not clear when the retailer introduced the rule, this is one of the first instances when it has become an issue with customers.

After the tweets received a massive response, with hundreds of likes, comments and shares, the store was forced to post a response.

MORE: Marks & Spencer are making a big change that could revolutionise your shopping habits

Hi Jean – All M&S fitting rooms have lockable cubicles designed to protect each customer’s privacy,’ wrote the store.

‘As a business, we strive to be inclusive and therefore, we allow customers the choice of which fitting room they feel comfortable to use, in respect of how they identify themselves. This is an approach other retailers and leisure facilities have also adopted.

‘We understand your concerns and I want to make it clear that if any customer was to act inappropriately or cause intentional offence, the necessary action would be taken.’

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.

Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

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