Monthly Parenting Magazine

Are maternity clothes disappearing from the High S...

Are maternity clothes disappearing from the High Street?

maternity dress shopping

A recent study has found less high street stores stocking maternity ranges – and moving their stock online instead

Words Holly Kirkwood

A recent study by UK shopping portal has discovered that more and more high street retailers are moving their maternity ranges exclusively online – and many have dropped maternity altogether.

The research, which took place in June this year, focused on six major high street retailers in 20 of the UK’s largest cities, and found that:

** Four of the retailers did not stock maternity in any of their stores

** The other two retailers had a total of just 15 stores (combined) which stocked maternity clothes suitable for a special occasion

** Three of those 15 shops had just one dress in stock

The study was triggered by the experiences of team member Lindsay McSweeney who recently attempted to source a maternity dress for a wedding.

“I was invited to attend a wedding in May this year. At the time I was a little over 5 months pregnant and when I tried a few outfits from my wardrobe, I realised that I would definitely need a new dress for the day.”

Lindsay was unable to find a suitable dress in either Inverness or Glasgow – with the latter being Scotland’s largest city and considered one of the UK’s premier shopping destinations.

“I live in the Scottish Highlands, and the closest town to me is Inverness. I spent a frustrating day trying to find a dress without any luck – there was only one store that had any maternity clothes, and nothing was suitable for a wedding. A trip to Glasgow a few days later was equally uninspiring, and in the end I had to borrow a dress from a friend.

Find Open contacted six major high street retailers currently stocking maternity fashion online – New Look, Topshop, Next, Marks & Spencer, Dorothy Perkins, and GAP. New Look and Topshop were the only 2 retailers who stocked maternity wear in any of their stores.

While completing the research, Find Open gathered online feedback from some of the UK’s 750,000+ expectant mothers.

CEO Francisc Osvald reports that “Many commenters lamented the poor availability of maternity fashion on the high street, while others stated that not being able to try on clothes prior to purchase was a particular inconvenience due to their changing body shape.

“We also discovered that several major high street retailers, including Primark and Zara, appear to have completely discontinued their maternity ranges – both in store and online. This appears to have been a recent move.”

Each of the retailers included in the study were approached for comment. A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer stated that: “Our maternity range is online only, as we have found that is how our customers prefer to shop the range.

Do you find it’s more difficult to get maternity clothes on the high street? Where do you like to shop? Let us know over on Twitter and Facebook.

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