NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Old Navy has been getting a lot of attention from its customers – but not in a good way.
The company has admitted that it is charging more for plus-sized clothing for women, but not for men. And as CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan discovered, many stores seem to be doing the same thing.
Old Navy has received plenty of backlash for up-charging on plus-size women’s clothes, while keeping prices consistent for men of all sizes.
“Women’s clothing can be priced so much higher than men’s clothing – and it is very sexist,” said shopper Sarah Lawson.
“There is a double standard that plus-size women in this country; in this society, are really not as accepted,” added shopper Phoebe Quayle.
A petition on Change.org demanding that Old Navy parent company Gap Inc. has gathered more than 36,000 signatures as of late Thursday afternoon. The petition by Renee Posey of upstate Randolph said Old Navy charges $12 to $15 more for plus-size women’s jeans, but not big men’s jeans.
“I wear pretty big clothes, and I don’t have to pay more than, like, any other size,” said shopper Kenneth Weisenberger.
Old Navy spokeswoman Debbie Felix explained that the price difference is due to design and fabric.
“Our plus sizes include curve enhancing elements such as four-way stretch material and countoured waistbands, which most men’s garments do not include,” Felix said in the statement.
But retail experts said if Old Navy was so proud of its reasons for charging more, it should have better communicated its justifications.
“They have to market it in a particular manner, so that the consumer doesn’t feel ripped off or taken advantage of,” said Adelphi University Business School Professor Thomas Shinick.
Plus-size shoppers told CBS2 they think they face price discrimination at all the big department stores. CBS2 paid a visit to Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Macy’s to find out.
A clerk at one of the stores told CBS2’s McLogan that plus sizes will always be $10 to $20 more per item.
CBS2 saw dresses in smaller sizes consistently lower than the plus sizes of the same make and model. Among jeans, plus sizes were $20 more in some cases.
But the mean’s jeans cost less than the size zero in the women’s.
“Outright discrimination – price discrimination – based on one sex,” said Barry Berman of the Hofstra University School of Business.
Some analysts said plus-size shoppers may get more bang for their buck at specialty stores that deal only in bigger sizes, because retailers pay less to manufacturers for mass-quantity orders.
Old Navy and other stores CBS2 reached out to said they do not make more money on their plus-sized line.
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