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Sexist Pricing

10 Jan 2017

Tesco has slashed the price of women's disposable razors in order to match that of a similar product available for men.  Prior to this, Tesco was charging twice as much for a packet of women's razors compared to men’s razors.

Tesco explained the price disparity was down to men's razors being produced and sold in significantly higher volumes; reducing the price it paid for them.  Notwithstanding this, Tesco agreed to reduce the price of women's disposable razors on the basis it is committed to doing right by its customers by offering clear, competitive and transparent pricing.

This is another small victory for campaigners who demand an end to what has been termed as “sexist pricing” on the high street.  

Last year campaigners highlighted the higher price of many toiletries marketed at women compared to the lower price of similar goods for men.  This resulted in Boots agreeing to cut the price of "feminine" razors to bring them in line with male equivalents.

The Fawcett Society carried out extensive research in 2016 into the issue of sexist pricing at Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda.  The research revealed that women are consistently charged more for own brand toiletries and items of clothing.  An analysis of a basket of the supermarkets’ own brand toiletries (which included disposable razors, shaving cream, spray-on antiperspirant deodorant and body spray) revealed that products that were gendered (i.e. with distinct female or male packaging) were consistently more expensive. Women are paying on average 31% more for an own brand basket of comparable toiletries.  In fact, the gap ranged from products costing 22% more in ASDA to 56% more in Morrisons – this is a huge difference.

The research also revealed that overall women are paying 12% more for a basket of own brand clothing items across these retailers.

The full report outlining the Fawcett Society’s findings can be found on the following link:

http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Sexist-Pricing-in-Supermarkets-Policy-Briefing.pdf

The Fawcett Society’s findings highlight the disparity of prices for male and female toiletries and clothing.  Where gender equality is strived for, why should women pay more for a product purely because its targeted at women when the same or similar product is available to men at a lower price?  Tesco’s and Boots’ actions have been both responsive and committed to tackling sexist pricing and set a great example.

Whilst there is no outright prohibition on sexist pricing per se, the power of a brand cannot be understated and operating a sexist pricing structure could serve to alienate women and encourage them to shop elsewhere or buy alternative brands.- Retailers who act responsibly and transparently in their pricing gain consumer confidence and loyalty.

A wealth of consumer laws and regulations do govern pricing and you could find yourself in trouble with Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Agency if you fail to comply with them in addition to tarnishing your brand and reputation. 

If you require any further information regarding pricing and advertising please contact Sarah Cook on:

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