A concerned mother has forced an Asda store to withdraw its range of padded bras for girls as young as nine, warning that the items were “encouraging sexual abuse”.
The bras were displayed prominently at the end of an aisle in a branch of Asda, despite the supermarket’s pledge to remove the items more than six months ago following a national outcry over the sexualisation of children’s clothes.
Nikola Evans, a mother of two, was alarmed to find the items on sale in an Asda branch in Chesterfield just last week, after the store had promised to remove the size 28AA bras last February.
The mother-of-two wrote a letter to staff after spotting the pastel-coloured garments on sale in packs of two for £6.
She said: “Staff told me they used to be on sale in the children’s section but they had been told to move them to the lingerie department.
“Clearly these items are aimed at children. An adult would have to be anorexic or something for them to fit as they have a very narrow back. No women with even a modestly developed figure would be able to wear one.
“As a mother I’m very concerned about the potentially serious consequences of young girls wearing items like these and the possibility of encouraging sexual abuse.”
Asda bosses apologised for failing to withdraw the items and, as promised, promptly took down the display.
A spokeswoman for Asda said: “We take our responsibilities as the largest childrenswear retailer extremely seriously. Every single one of our childrenswear products goes through an in-house panel of mums to assess its suitability.
“Following our link-up with Mumsnet and after consulting with customers, we made the decision to withdraw size 28AA from sale more than six months ago.
“We also moved all bras to the womenswear section in store. We do not sell any padded bras for children.”
She added: “This item should not have been on sale as it was withdrawn from all stores more than six months ago. We have removed the end display and all bras are now in one area within the womenswear section.”
Asda was one of the first to sign up to the Let Girls Be Girls campaign set up by the parenting network Mumsnet in February.
But in April its clothing range, George, came under fire for stocking a t-shirt for five and six year olds with the slogan “Gorgeous is an understatement”.
The campaign was started after it was revealed that a number of retailers were selling inappropriate items aimed at children.
Tesco was forced to remove a pole dancing kit from the toys and games section of its website in 2006 after being accused of “destroying children’s innocence”.
And earlier this year several retailers including Primark, Next, Tammy, Tesco and Peacocks were forced to withdraw padded bikinis for seven-year-olds after a public outcry.
Tesco faced further controversy last month when it was criticised for selling a school uniform skirt that was ten centimetres shorter than school skirts from Sainsbury’s and Asda.
Parenting website Netmums said the skirt, named the Hitch and Stitch, looked like something sold in sex toy and lingerie chain Ann Summers.
Commenting on the news Siobhan Freegard from Netmums said: “If Tesco does not remove this from their shelves they are saying that they think it is okay for children of nine or ten to be seen in this way. It is particularly bad that this is part of a uniform range. Even the name of the skirt is suggestive”.