New Look has been called out for imposing a fat tax on plus size clothing.
It comes after a shopper discovered a pair of trousers from its Curve range were being sold for 15% more than the standard size version in the main collection.
Maria Wassell, a retail supervisor, is now calling on people to boycott the chain.
Shes worked in retail for 26 years and says that she was disgusted to discover that a pair of green striped trousers were £22.99 in the larger sizes, compared to £19.99 in the standard range.
Maria then went online and found that the price disparity continued there too; she found that the 18 t-shirt shed bought the previous weekend was being sold for just £12.99 in the standard range – a 30% difference.
Its like Im being discriminated against for being plus size when Im only slightly bigger than average, she says.
The average size for a British woman is now a size 16. Plus size purchases are on the increase. If you look at the statistics, theres more money being spent on plus size clothing now then there was even three years ago.
Why should we be penalised for being slightly bigger? A lot of retailers do this.
Some retailers have claimed that plus size clothes need more fabric and thats why it costs more. Thats basically rubbish.
I used to work for a plus size brand so I do understand a lot about how it works.
And she doesnt buy the argument that it costs more to make bigger clothing, because she claims that the clothing in New Looks tall range is priced the same as regular sizes.
But there are reasons why some brands may charge more, or might not offer larger clothing at all.
It takes more time to develop a shape which is an average of the plus size population, so as to not have something which only fits very specific body shapes, Rob Williams, from clothing manufacturer Hawthorn, tells Metro.co.uk.
Some garments are more affected by this than others.
When producing more common sizes, the difference in fabric consumption between a size 10, 12 and 14, for example, isnt actually that much. However the difference between a 10 and a 20 is considerable, so manufacturers will compensate for that in pricing, usually with sizes 10-16 being one price, 16-24 being another price, and so on.
But it does sound like Marias caught New Look out, judging from their response.
A New Look spokesman said: To ensure pricing differences like these dont happen in future, we are in the process of reviewing the pricing structure of our plus size collection in a way which works best for our customers and our business.
We are proud of the ranges we offer to our plus size customers and value all customers, no matter what their body shape or size.