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 is a digital shopping writer at woman&home—so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows what the best buys are at any moment. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. A year on the w&h news team gained her invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first—as well as an AOP awards nomination.