A plus-sized mum has told how she was body-shamed by staff at her local John Lewis store after being told they didn’t stock clothes in her size and to buy on-line instead.
Karen Connolly, 57, said she was left in tears after visiting the store to get an outfit for a wedding only to told they did not stock clothes for her size 22 figure.
The upset mum-of-four asked staff: “Does that mean I’m the only fat person in Chelmsford?”
The married NHS business consultant was looking for a dress and a jacket while shopping on October 2.
She chose John Lewis because she wanted to pick out “something classic and smart.”
She explained: “I went into the changing room and I asked the two staff which range stocked a 20+ size and they looked quite dismayed,
“I was quite insulted and I said ‘what, nothing at all?’ One of the women was larger size and said ‘I can’t get anything myself here’.”
The shop assistants and the customer service desk told her to look online where clothes are stocked up to size 26 as they did not carry clothes above size 18.
Karen added: “I hate shopping online and I cannot see the quality or colour correctly.
“I would normally take a 20, 22 or 24 into a changing room and if it was online I would have to pay for it three times and return at least two items.
“I felt humiliated. The lack of availability of clothes for me and any other plus-sized women made me feel worthless.
“Unfortunately at that point I got very emotional and I started to cry, I felt incredibly embarrassed and it was probably frustration and a little bit of tiredness because I had been travelling.
“It’s very hard to go shopping and it is exhausting to go from shop to shop, especially when you are looking for something smarter for work or an occasion.
“I know that 25 per cent of the female demographic are plus-sized now and that is just not catered for.
“It makes me feel that I’m not as valuable as my daughters who are nice size 8s and 10s.
“I have got money to spoil myself and I do but it won’t be in John Lewis.”
Shockingly, Karen was promised a call from John Lewis’ customer services but a month has past and she has not heard from them.
She said: “I’m not expecting them to change the store just for me, that would be unreasonable but I’d like an explanation as to why they don’t believe they should stock adequate size ranges.
“I’m sure I’m not the only person to have gone through this.
“It’s a pity John Lewis don’t think we voluptuous ladies are worth their valuable floor space.”
The plus size market constitutes 12.4 per cent of all clothing sales and is worth in excess of £5 billion.
A quarter of UK women have bought plus-size clothing – clothing over a size 16 – in the past year.
A John Lewis spokeswoman said: “As a small department store, our Chelmsford shop stocks women’s clothing in sizes 8-18, but some of our other shops and johnlewis.com stock womenswear brands that range up to size 24.
“We want all of our customers to find what they are looking for when shopping with us, and we’re looking into introducing more womenswear brands carrying sizes 20-24 for the 2017 spring/summer season.”