Sunday, 19 September 2010

Mumsnet -v- M&S

"Hooters" a nasty sexist "family" restaurant who require their staff to be sexual harassed has recently decided to move into the UK.  Bristol is one of the cities they want to open in.  They have managed to sublet a former Marks & Spencer's "Simply Food" outlet on the harbour-side.  Bristol Council have agreed the necessary planning permission.

The plans to open the branch seemed to steamed ahead when one local Bristol woman, JessinAvalon decided to express her opposition on Mumsnet, a social network for predominately affluent middle class women in their 30s and 40s. I have been watching the responses and the tactic of the mumsnetters have been to target M&S, where I suspect many of them spend rather a lot of money.  M&S has resisted to date, claiming their decision to sublet to Hooters is commercial and in no way endorses the company, its sexist employment practices or its sexist products.

M&S have an existing relationship with Mumsnet and are listed on their front page as supporter of the Let Girls be Girls campaign.

If this is true it will be interesting to see if this decision really was in M&S's commercial interest.  Whatever rent M&S is getting for their Bristol property is likely to be dwarfed by the amount charged to the high credit limit plastic the mumsnet women flash in their stores.  If the boycott takes off expect a rapid retreat by M&S.

The campaign is now spreading into the broadsheets with the Indie on Sunday and the Sunday Telegraph both running stories today.  Both stories provide excellent publicity for Mumsnet and very bad publicity for M&S.

M&S were earlier this month one of the British retailers caught up in a sweatshop scandal with workers at their suppliers forced to work 18 hours a day at rates as low as 25p an hour

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