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Debenhams aims at 'average woman' with size 16 mannequins

Published on Nov 7, 2013 12:33 AM

LONDON (AFP) - A department store said on Wednesday it would become Britain's first mainstream high-street store to use size 16 (US size 14) mannequins as it tries to better represent "the average woman".

The vast majority of shops only use mannequins in size 10, but Debenhams says the average British woman is three sizes bigger, pledging to reflect this across its 170 stores by using a range of different sizes.

"We hope that it will help people in some small way to feel comfortable about their bodies and, crucially, that other retailers will follow," said the store's director Ed Watson.

Government minister Jo Swinson, who has been trying to promote body confidence among women as part of her equalities brief, welcomed the shift. "Many customers want to see more realistic images in magazines, TV and on the high street, and having mannequins that reflect and celebrate our diverse society is one way of helping to achieve this," Ms Swinson said.