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High street retailers charge women up to twice as much as men for products


By Seb Joseph, News editor

January 19, 2016 | 4 min read

British high street retailers are reportedly charging women up to twice as much more for products than the same goods for men.

The revelation follows an investigation by The Times that analysed of hundreds of items including clothes, toys and personal care products, which found those marketed at women were 37 per cent more expensive.

Tesco, Boots, Argos and Amazon were among those brands alleged to be profiting from sexist pricing of their wares

In one instance, the report found that Tesco charged double the price for 10 pink disposable razors as it did for the men’s equivalent. While Levi’s 501 jeans were nearly half (46 per cent) more expensive the men’s version.

The claims heap further pressure on retailers, many of who are struggling to get people through their doors due to cheaper prices online. It could end with retail bosses having to explain their actions to MPs.

Chairwoman of Women and Equalities Committee Maria Miller, said: "Retailers need to explain how they can be charging such different prices for items which look identical.

"It's an excellent piece of research and it's something which the committee will be considering whether we should take further. This is just the sort of thing the Women and Equalities Select Committee can consider and make sure that in this instance retailers are made to account for what appears to be price discrimination based on sex."

Retailers have downplayed the findings and attempted to counter the negative fallout by talking up the transparency of their pricing strategies.

A Tesco spokesman said: “We work hard to offer customers clear, fair and transparent pricing. A number of products for females have additional design and performance features which can add to the retail price. We continually review our pricing strategy, so that none of our customers lose out when shopping at Tesco.”

Boots took a similar stance with a statement that read: “At Boots UK, we are committed to offering our customers great value and quality. To help us achieve this all of our products are priced individually based on a range of factors including formulation, ingredients, and market comparison. In addition we provide a wide range of product promotions, and offers linked to our Boots Advantage Card, to give our customers greater flexibility and choice.”

It’s not the first time high street sellers have been called out for pricing scandals. Similar investigations have been conducted over the years that have found noticeable differences between the prices women and men pay for goods.

An analysis of the so-called “gender tax” last month by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs reported that women were charged on average seven per cent more than men for similar products. While a study by Forbes magazine in 2012 revealed that the price gap costs women around £1,000 a year.


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