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Kingston high street: there’s a slim chance you’ll find anything plus sized

By River Reporter Nov 24, 2011

By Lucy Sambrook

Kingston has lived up to its name as being “the skinniest town in Britain” after slimming down its high street options for plus size women.

The clothing giant, New Look, has sparked outrage from shoppers after revealing plans to close its plus size section, leaving larger women almost nowhere to shop in Kingston.

Kate Howat, 20, a second year sociology and psychology student at Kingston university, is a size 12 and said: “I feel that there are many options for ladies weighing about two stone less than me.

I don’t shop on Kingston High Street much, as finding something that genuinely fits is a challenge.”

Kingston upon Thames recently took the title for “the skinniest and slimmest town in Britain”, in a survey from hospital records, while Kingston upon Hull tipped the scales at the other end of the “fat league” as Britain’s most obese town.

Plus size shoppers

The past few months have seen Kingston’s only plus size clothing shop Evans disappear from the high street, making New Look’s decision to close their “Inspire” range even more upsetting for plus size shoppers.

Jess Osbaldeston, 21, a journalism student at Kingston University
said: “I’m really angry about New Look closing down their plus size section. I now have basically nowhere to shop in Kingston as a lot of shops stop at a size 16.”

New Look recently introduced a new “click and collect” system, so customers can order the range online, and get clothes delivered to the store to try on.

Jess said: “I think they are really letting customers down as now I have to go to the internet to get clothes meaning I have to buy multiple sizes and have money taken out of my account before I even know if they will fit me which I can’t afford.

 “I have a couple of friends who would shop there too and they are really angry about it as we now have nowhere to go and buy our winter clothes if we want to look even vaguely fashionable.”


Meanwhile, the shop space in New Look is being taken up by more trend and party wear.

 A New Look employee and third year Kingston student who wishes to remain anonymous said: “Some customers have expressed their annoyance and feel it isn’t fair and is ‘size-ist’, I have had them complain to me directly feeling we have let them down, as Evans has already closed down, New Look was their only option for sizes.”

A “fat league” study, published in 2004 by data analyst Experian, lists towns in the North of England dominating the obesity league, whilst most southern towns such as Kingston made up the vast majority of the skinniest league.

The anonymous New Look worker said: “The Inspire and Tall range had to be taken off shelves as, after weeks of consideration, the realized they weren’t selling enough to justify having such big sections of it in store.”

Study author Dr Marc Farr said why he thought Kingston was voted the skinniest town: “You are talking about more educated people with cosmopolitan tastes.

They travel more, read health sections in newspapers.

There are more gyms in Kingston and they have enough money to join.”

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