Marks & Spencer has responded to an open letter that criticises its bra fitting service and its range of intimate apparel available in store.
The open letter, entitled ‘Oh M&S, where did it all go wrong?’, was penned by Boob or Bust, a Facebook group set up to offer ‘bra measuring advice’.
The letter, which was sent to Lingerie Insight earlier this week, includes the results of a study conducted by Boob or Bust on its 1,900 followers.
The aim of the research was to get customer feedback on M&S’ bra fitting services after it was reported in The Telegraph that the retailer is setting up a panel of shareholders that will advise the board and shape its turnaround strategy.
The study found that 70% of respondents had a bad fitting experience in M&S.
Boob or Bust attributed this feedback to M&S using ‘the old plus 4”’ fitting method, which involves measuring the underbust and adding four or five inches to calculate a back size.
But Marks & Spencer said that this statement is factually inaccurate.
“We have not used the ‘plus 4” method’ for quite some time and the current method for bra fit has been developed in-house by our team of experts and has been in place for over five years,” an M&S spokesperson told Lingerie Insight.
The letter also claims that M&S “needs a better range of bras” after 546 survey respondents said they struggle to find bras in J or K cups.
M&S defended its product offering, saying: “We offer 113 different bra sizes from a AA cup through to a J, and many of our ranges come in 44 different sizes.”
The letter went on to say that shoppers visiting M&S also find it difficult to find “pretty bras” in extended sizes.
Responding to this feedback, M&S said: “Our DD+ bras are developed to ensure that the garments offer appropriate support and comfort alongside style. For example, Rosie for Autograph bras, which come in beautiful silks and lace, go up to a 40G.”
Boob or Bust also states that M&S fails to offer flattering and stylish post-surgery bras in larger cup sizes after 52 of its survey respondents said the retailer needs to offer more mastectomy bras aimed at younger women above a DD cup.
Once again, M&S defended its product offering. The spokesperson said: “Our post-surgery range is the largest on the high street, with 25 bras and swimwear products available, with some products available up to a G cup.”
The retailer also explained that its Angel range of bras have been designed following extensive research during the early stages of development, after some customers said M&S needs to offer a better range of teen sizes.
“The range starts art 28AA and goes up to an E cup different sizes and includes non-padded, padded, non-wired and wired styles, to ensure maximum comfort and modesty at different stages of development, giving our customers plenty of choice for their individual needs,” it said.
Concluding its defence, M&S said it had taken the feedback from the study on board and is dedicated to meeting the needs of its customers.
“As the UK’s leading lingerie retailer, we listen and talk to 18,000 customers a week about every aspect of fit, design and comfort to ensure we are offering them the widest choice possible,” the spokesperson said.
“We offer 113 different bra sizes and 1,300 different bras at any one time, and around 50,000 women are measured every week using our bra fit service, which has been specially developed by our in house team of experts.”