Claims of gender pricing inequality have forced a British retailer to rethink how it prices certain goods.
Boots UK was confronted online, via Twitter using the hashtag #sexistsurcharge and with a Change.org petition. Both platforms questioned the company’s practice
of “pink taxing” some of its products for women.
The group found several items, including eye cream and razors, to be priced higher for women than for men.
Here are price variations cited in the petition:
£9.99 for eye cream for women, but £7.29 for men. £2.29 for eight women's razors, £1.49 for a pack of 10 for men. A visit to any Boots store and it's
plain as day on the British high street that women are being ripped off.
Boots UK reached out to equality campaign organizers Tuesday.
In a statement, the company addressed the petition’s 42,000 signatures and offered to make some pricing adjustments:
At Boots UK, we have never operated a pricing system that discriminates against women, so we were surprised and disappointed to see recent examples in the
press that did not reflect our own standards.
We are committed to offering all of our customers great value and quality, we have clear pricing principles that ensure all of our products are priced
individually based on a range of factors including formulation, ingredients, and market comparison.
We immediately conducted a review on all Boots own brand and proprietary ranges to better understand the cited examples. This review has reassured us that
for Boots own brands the two reported examples, Boots disposable razors and Botanics eye roll on, are indeed exceptional cases which do not completely meet
our principles and we are taking action to correct these prices.
Following the review of Boots Own brand ranges, we are speaking to our suppliers to ask them to conduct similar reviews of their brands, however we cannot
comment further on their pricing—that would be a matter for the brands themselves.
Boots isn’t alone in this practice. A study in U.K. publication The Times found that a range of stores on Britain’s High Street are “pink taxing” women’s
products. The study found that women’s products in this area cost an average of 36 percent more than similar men’s products.
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Change.org petition organizer Stevie Wise requested a continued effort on social media from supporters:
We know that there are more products, so don’t stop yet. If you spot examples, please continue tweeting us with your examples @sexistsurcharge.
What do you think, PR Daily readers? Will Boots UK’s change in pricing structure push other retailers to follow suit?