New good practice' guidance for stores selling children's clothing is being launched by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) today. The launch coincides with the release of the Government-commissioned Bailey review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children.
Nine retailers belonging to the BRC developed the guidance Responsible Retailing: BRC Childrenswear Guidelines and have now signed up to it. The BRC is encouraging other retailers to join them.
The document spells out the principles these retailers follow when deciding what childrenswear to stock. Areas covered include garment styles, fabrics and marketing.
British Retail Consortium Director of Public Affairs, Jane Bevis, said: "These new guidelines provide extra reassurance for parents that these companies are just as concerned as they are about what their children wear. Ensuring the childrenswear they sell is appropriate for youngsters of particular ages is something our retailers have been doing for a long time, but out of the public eye.
"No responsible retailer wants to stock items which will upset their customers or that people don't want to buy. Attitudes and styles are changing all the time and our retailers want to continue their conversations with families about what they're looking for when they shop for their children.
"Responsible retailers assess all new products before they go into store, especially products for children. Buyers take into account the styling of clothes, the materials they're made from and how they are decorated. Children's clothing needs to withstand play and provide freedom and modesty as children run or climb. This guidance helps everyone understand the decision-making processes retailers go through."
Carrie Longton, Co-Founder of Mumsnet, said: "After growing concern from Mumsnetters we launched our 'Let Girls be Girls' campaign to ask retailers to commit not to sell products which play upon, emphasise or exploit children's sexuality. We're delighted that so many retailers joined our campaign and that we've seen some real change on the high street. And now it's great that the industry as a whole, through the British Retail Consortium, has recognised its responsibility and drafted its own guidelines to encourage more responsibility up and down the high street."
Chris Wermann, Director of Corporate Affairs at Home Retail Group (includes Argos) said: "As the largest toy retailer in the UK and new entrants into children clothing, Argos is not new to responsible retailing for primary school children. We fully support any initiative which drives poor practices out of the system."
Andrew Moore, George Managing Director, said: "Most of us are parents at George and as a parent myself, we feel passionately about helping to lead change in the industry. George at Asda was the first supermarket to sign up to the Mumsnet 'Let Girls Be Girls' campaign as we take our responsibility as the largest childrenswear retailer in the UK extremely seriously."
Jane Hotz, Buying Director of Peacocks: "Peacocks is delighted to be a part of this important retail initiative. We take our responsibilities very seriously in providing an appropriate and wearable children's range that everyone can afford. Our customers can be assured that as signatories to the BRC Childrenswear Guidelines we have adopted industry best practice."