Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Reiss-Porky pies?

I love Lynnette Peck Bateman, I admire her work, and find her an extremely fantastic person to talk to. She is EXTREMELY knowledgable about all things fashion and beauty and when she tweets that she is upset about something, people listen.

Check her out at @lovelyislovely1

Let me lay this scenario out for you.

Lynnette goes into Reiss in Covent garden intending to spend some money.

She looks around the store browsing with intent, as we do and to her surprise finds that there is not ONE single item in a size LARGE at all on the shop floor. (The fact that Reiss see a large as a size 14 is a WHOLE other blog post) ALL the items on show are either Extra Small, Small or Medium.

No Large.

She then asks a member of staff if all of the large sizes are sold out in EVERY section only to be informed that they do not stock the large sizes on the shop floor!!!!! The Large is kept in the stock room and you have to ask if you would like one.

When quizzed about why Reiss had this policy she was told "I don't know, it is just the way it is done"

When Lynnette tweeted this information a LOT of people were outraged about the policy, there was a lot of tweeting to Reiss to explain themselves but yet no reply was forthcoming from Reiss.

It took Reiss until almost midday to tweet some more information which was not sent directly to Lynnette but instead a general tweet to their 722 followers.

@REISS we apologise if you've been misinformed by one of our staff. It is not our policy to keep larger sizes in the stockroom.

@REISS Due to the breadth of our collections we display 4 of each style in varying sizes from 4-14 at any one time

@REISS our staff regularly replenish stock and are on hand to assist with any enquiries.

Reiss then sent an e-mail to Lynette after she enquired whether the tweets were in response to her original query about stock.

Dear Lynnette

I hope you are well.

I just wanted to get in touch as I understand that there has been some confusion regarding our sizing displayed in stores, and wanted to reassure you of our protocol.

Our team has recently posted a series of tweets which we hope will provide clarity, but we felt it helpful to email you directly as it was you who had been directly misinformed.

Firstly, we apologise that you were misinformed by a member of our staff.

It is not our policy to keep larger sizes in the stockroom.

Due to the breadth of our collections we display 4 of each style in varying sizes from 4 -14 at any one time.

Our staff regularly replenish stock and are on hand to assist with any queries.

We appreciate your feedback and will ensure all our staff have been re-briefed.

Once again, we apologise that this affected your shopping experience with us and do hope that future visits to our store will be more pleasurable.

Please do let me know if you need any further information.
Kind regards


Now i'm no social media expert but haven't they just repeated what they said on Twitter there?

Hmmmmmmmmmmm, probably not the best way to placate an angry customer Reiss.

Being the pain in the arse that I am, I needed to put this to the test.

Take one dress. It's from the new collection so it SHOULD be on the shop floor right?

Meet Lexia, she is £179, not my cup of tea but I am sure she is perfect for someone.  

I rang 4 different stores and explained that my friend had come into the store yesterday to pick up this dress for me but she was in a rush and hadn't seen it on the shop floor but now another friend had told us that the large sizes were not displayed on the shop floor, Is this true?

Canary Wharf said that this wasn't true, in fact they pretty much quoted the REISS tweet when they then explained that they display four of each size from 4-14 at any time.

Ok, I replied, so do you have this brand new dress in a large?

Um.... we don't have any on the shop floor, let me check the stock room.

Funnily enough they found one in the stock room!!!!!!!!!!!!

Liverpool Street didn't have the dress in stock AT all but admitted to me that they usually only have THREE sizes out at one time and these usually ARE the smaller ones.

One New Change Also told me that it was their policy to only have Extra Small, Small and Medium out on the shop floor

And the last shop that I tried in Leeds told me that "saying that they don't keep the Large on the shop floor is completely untrue" But then when I asked if they had Lexia in a Large asked me to hold on as there wasn't one on the shop floor and they had to check the stock room.

Where funnily enough they managed to find one!!!!!!!!!!!

So what is the truth about Reiss?

Do they hide the large sizes in the stock room like I hide my size 18 knickers?

Out of shame and embarrassment.

From the four shops I spoke to today it seems so. But if that is the truth why not just come out and say so and that they will REVIEW their policy?

Next time you are in Reiss, take a look around. .

Have you seen any size Large on display? And if you are a size Large, ask yourself why you would have to request your size from the back room like you were requesting porn from the top shelf.

Let me know what YOU think of Reiss.

And whether they are right in this policy or whether ALL sizes should be on display.

Big Fashionista  x


  1. That is BAD! I'm a size 16/18 so nothing in REISS would fit me, but I'm happy with my size! REISS are clearly STUPID! A lot of tall women require large even if they are slim, disgusting!!

  2. This is so WRONG!!!!!!!Whoever is managing how those stores are organised is a complete fool!!!!!
    Not only this is morally wrong, insensitive and so freaking ridiculous, it's also many women looking for a 14 and not been bothered to ask will walk out of those stores!!!?? What is is with people working in management positions they are truly incompetent at!!!???
    Well done to everyone involved in uncovering this story. It's one of those extremely stupid situations that need to be made public.

  3. Wow great detective work! What a horrendous policy! I don't consider myself plus size but but almost definitely need a size large in Reiss. I think it's disgusting that some women are made to feel less worthy due to this strange policy. It's blatantly saying....clothes in your size don't look as nice! Which is completely untrue. I'd be a size 14 over a size 4 anyday! Great blog post! xxx

  4. They obviously need to decide on what their company policy actually is.

    If they have the size they should display it. Having to ask is just madness.

  5. I think it's absolutely atrocious! There is no logical reason (at least not one I can see) for keeping certain sizes in the stock room. It probably wouldn't occur to me to ask if they had things in a larger size, I would probably just leave and not go back.

    It reminds me of similar situation in TopShop. I noticed they only had certain things in a size 14, and not very many come to that. It was mostly things like vest tops and plain t-shirts. When I asked if they did all the items in a size 14 I was told that this particular TopShop was too small to bother ordering in things that were not required.

  6. Wow, really interesting blog post. I can't believe they do that, size 14 is nothing to be embarrassed about but it seems they are embarrassed about stocking it which is ridiculous.

  7. Great post. I love the comparison to requesting porn off the top shelf. Very accurate analogy.

  8. Great post! I used to work for a big company in retail head office and ind it disgusting that they do not stock all sizes on the shop floor (We would have had words with any branch of ours that did this).

    As you said about the Mangagement, they must be stupid as they are missing potential sales as customers will walk out of there. One of every size should be on the shop floor! They clearly do not know that in the UK the average women is a size 14. Or are the saying that if you are a 14 or over you don't have the money to shop there so they are not missing sales?

    I have only ever brought accessories from Reiss as I always felt intimatidated to even look at the clothes. I was bigger at the time, and even though I have lost 5st and now I'm a 12 I still feel rubbish going in there.

  9. Oh god, i can't believe what i have just read! Considering the average dress size is a size 16 in the UK this is just a total farce!
    Great post and research xxx

  10. I don't want to be unpopular but I have to ask, has anyone heard of a little thing called Visual Merchandising? You'd be hard pushed to find any high end retailer who thinks that it is aesthetically acceptable to have every size on the shop floor, particularly when they have a wide range like Reiss (4-14 is more sizes than most). Reiss has a sleek thing going on that doesn't allow for 5 of every item on the shop floor, and I don't blame them. I'd be very reluctant to pay their prices if their stores didn't look expensive, chic and neat. If you don't want to have to ask for sizes, go to H&M, where they don't even HAVE stock rooms.

    On another note, whilst you might be right to find it outrageous that they only keep the smaller sizes on the shop floor, you're going to have to be outraged at just about every other retailer in the same price bracket, because I'd be staggered if you found any one of them was any different...

    I am a curvy 12-14 and a lot of Reiss items don't sit well on me, but I'm not about to boycott them entirely just because some of their clothes don't suit my bodyshape. C'est la vie, non?

  11. Holly, I HAVE heard of Visual Merchandising, and it has been part of my job for a long time.

    Whilst caring for a shop's appearance may mean limiting the amount of stock, there is no excuse for systematically and consistently eliminating a certain size, and a popular one.

    There is also no excuse in lying about it. I have worked for a well-known international fashion brand, in fact I have managed one of their flag ship stores. Rule number one in our sales book was to ensure every single size was on display. If it's not, it's a lost sale, as most customers won't enquire and will walk away. And yes, our size 14 was the most popular, as well as 16, highly requested.

    Reiss' attitude has a lot to do with Visual Merchandising... Dumb Visual Merchandising.

    There is really no excuse for this. It's a customer service fail, management fail and huge PR fail to pretend this doesn't even happen.

  12. ooooooohhhh... see, I am torn on this post. while I agree with you in not have a single 14 is atrocious, having worked in upscale retail, we never did keep every size out. HOWEVER, I did make it a point to include 14's, XL's, and 16's when we did carry it in my specific line responsible for ON the Floor.

    What Reiss should have done is mix up their assortment of items on the sale floor rather than completely exclude sizing.

    What is messed up about this mindset they have taken is then to turn around and say- oh well they do not sell 14's and then phase out that size for their rationale. SMH...

    Retail is a nasty game, and even worse from someone who has worked both sides as you see the insane tug of war that exists...

    LE SIGH...

    They owe you more than a cookie cutter or canned apology, but honey speak with your wallet, er and this blog... as you so eloquently did...

    When will the retailers understand?

  13. Visual Merchandising. Yes, I've heard of it, most people have. But is it worth the alienation of potential customers? Looking neat and chic doesn't necessarily mean over stocking.

    The reaction from Reiss has a 'whatever' attitude to it which is wrong. Do not bite the hand that feeds Reiss.

  14. I find that this problem often happens in men's clothing too, my husband is a 'larger sized' man, and very very rarely finds clothing in store and usually buys online.

    I think that this may have a lot to do with having to ask - not every, but in most instances, larger sized people are quite low in confidence, and they would rather go without than to be heard asking if they have a size 40" waist available..

    Another similar point is to do with designer labels - why do alot of designers not make larger sized clothes? Bigger people like to wear nice clothes and look smart too - and I can't help but think that these labels are losing out on alot of business.

  15. Now you've got me thinking. In River Island i'm a 14 or 16 but get 18 in cardigans as they sit better with this large boobage situation i have going on. They nearly always have 14's on the shop floor, i usually have to ask for 16's and if i want an 18 in store than forget about it. Its online for me! Now, you can't tell me thats because they think they wouldn't sell their clothes in an 18?
    Naively, I always thought that the 16s weren't on show as they were the most popular size and had sold out the fastest (Hangs head in dimwitted shame)
    Thanks for opening my eyes!

  16. Re the visual merchandising comment.

    Does anyone else think that a 14 is asthetically unpleasing?

    If you stock them-show them.

    Especially in this day and age when there are other companies out there that will have them onthe shop floor.

    Like someone said above, not everyone has the confidence to ask for the LARGE.

    Some great comments so far, keep them coming and show Reiss that it is not acceptable.

    Hopefully at some point they will respond.

  17. I'm completely outraged by this. Is it embarrassing to be large? or more so in Reiss case, embarrassed to sell larger clothes. I hate when companies try and twist their words!! on the up side I have to say and the award for the most ridiculous policy goes to REISS!

    ps Good detective work!

  18. Sorry, but when did I say that a size 14 was aesthetically unpleasing? Talk about being misquoted! I was just making the point that fewer pieces of each style on a rail looks better than lots of them; I conceded that it was fair to take issue with Reiss about keeping only the smaller sizes out. Why doesn't someone make a constructive comment and tell Reiss exactly what it is they think should be done without being unrealistic and trying to demand that they put one of every size out, when it is clear that very few retailers actually do that? I think MarieDenee made the best suggestion in that it gets mixed up, does no one else agree?

    Following on from that point, I note that no one has so much as acknowledged the fact that virtually every other high end store does the same thing? Will there be a scathing blog post for every one of them, too?

  19. I find it's pretty much the same over here in Ireland.
    Whenever I go shopping/window shopping(and these shops are mostly from British chains) I find myself having to ask for a size 12 or an L...a mere 12 !
    And funnily enough, most times when I ask they either find one in the stock room or....they never stocked that item in a 12/L !

    PR people can fill us with their ridiculous bull... we just don't believe in coincidences.

  20. Holly when I said does anyone else find this asthetically unpleasing I did not mean to imply you. I meant as in you had brought it up and was there anyone else who felt that way?

    More scathing blog posts about companies?

    Oh you bet ya,

    Have a nice day now x x x

  21. seriously words fail me- every time i've been in a Reiss store there is hardly nothing in store and whats in is a pile of toss anyway. I won't be spending any of mine money in there any more, especially how they have 4 things on a hanger, what a pathetic excuse xxx

  22. Holly
    "Why doesn't someone make a constructive comment and tell Reiss exactly what it is they think should be done without being unrealistic and trying to demand that they put one of every size out, when it is clear that very few retailers actually do that? "

    I think there are A LOT of constructive comments here. Again, the big brand I was working for did it. If ever the Regional Manager put a foot on the store and located missing sizes on the store that were in the stock room heads would roll. That said, if we had a huge dress that could engulf the rails if displayed in its entire size range, then yes, we would ensure that there would be, say, an 8, a 12, and a 16. But these were exceptional cases. Visual Merchandising is about how best to present a product but it should not be used to give an "elitist impression", repeatedly removing larger sizes from the shop floor. It's quite insulting and as said constructively before, it will result in A LOT of people walking out of the store without asking for their size. This will result in a loss of sales, consistently, and since when is that a good store strategy?

    "I note that no one has so much as acknowledged the fact that virtually every other high end store does the same thing? Will there be a scathing blog post for every one of them, too? "

    Not everyone does it and yes, if these type of behaviour is repeated it should be made public and ridiculed as it's extremely limited and poor.

    I don't think it's all to do with store layout and/or capacity, it's to do with poor customer service and poor PR reaction. They have been caught lying about their brand's policies, they have made a poor attempt at fixing this mishap and they should indeed be scolded in every single blog or media outlet available.

  23. The fact that Reiss only goes up to a size 14 anyway is isolating a big chunk of the populaton. Don't larger girls want fashionable clothes too? You'd have to be a complete idiot to think that only skinny girls have the money to spend their. I am a size 16 and have plenty of money to spend, unfortunatly I can't buy anything from there.

    Anyway I think it's their perogative to only put out the sizes they want, god knows why they keep size large in the stock room. Thats the dumbest thing i've ever heard in my life, do they not want the extra sales???????????????? in this recession they should be putting out all stock on the shop floor in the hopes it all sells.

    They are isolating the "average" woman, maybe that is their whole point? to make the brand more exclusive, more "High" fashion?? I dont know whatever the reason it's A BIG mistake on their part.

  24. Great post Kellie. I think you've made some really interesting points and I completely agree with you.
    On the comments above, I think that it would be nice if high end stores placed the larger sizes out on the shop floor. I'm not saying that every top, skirt or pair of trousers should be out there in every single size imaginable but would it be such an issue to have maybe a 14 or Large out on the floor in maybe 5 or 6 pieces?

    It would hardly be an eye sore would it?

    It's probably next to impossible to think that all high end luxury retail stores would bend the rules backwards or damn right break them in half after any blog post, but if ONE person can bring light to this kind of situation, it's far better than everyone turning a blind eye.

    You've got my support Kel and I can't wait for your next secret spy mission! We'll be seeing you on Dispatches in no time. Lol.


  25. I'm a size 12 but would definitely be a 14 in Reiss! However, I can't personally see the shame in asking for a 14 if there's none out there. They should try to do a mix of sizes though!


  26. Fashion Limbo - your reply eloquently says what I was going to point out. Most high street clothing retailers actually DO put out one of each size. What we are referring to here is an elitist store!

    I have ever set foot in a Reiss store, they don't want my custom as they can't see the potential in clothing the majority of British women.....and plainly don't think those who are smaller than average want to shop in the same store as we normals!

    M&S, here I come!

  27. I know this isn't quite the same but it's the same principle. I work in a Fashion shoe shop and when I first started there the only shoes on display were the smaller size (UK 3 & 4). Since being there I have noticed that this is irritable to the customer and often they don't bother to ask for a larger size, we have since changed this.

    What I am trying to say is that this is not only horrible to read and bad for the reputation of the once Highly Rate REISS, it effects them in their profits as lost sales.

    AND while I'm here, size 14 is not LARGE anyway!

  28. This has been a really interesting blog post. I have worked for a few retailers in the same bracket as Reiss and although some have the same policy as Reiss, many mix their sizes up which is great.

    Well done for bringing light to this problem, people shouldn't have to have a different shopping experience because of their size!

    Hannah xoxo

  29. Kellie, you should be a journalist !

  30. I honestly don't see why they would hide a large in 'shame', as they all pretty much look the same on the rack anyway. How many times have you had to rummage through a less organised rail to find an L (of which I wear might I add, despite often being M, I just prefer a bit of room!) and you always have to check the label? I mean, an L isn't usually blustering in the wind like an oversized tent screaming to you that's it's not a medium?!
    I just don't get why they would purposefully do it unless it was a space saving thing, it's quite possible that some random analyst somewhere has told them their customers are mainly XS-M so they have made an informed (and I use the term loosely) decision.
    Odd. I so want to go nose in my Liverpool store now!

    J x

  31. P.S. On another note, I have seen my Tara have plenty of issues finding an XS in tons of stores.

    And I'm not even going to mention the time I was followed around Evans like I was on another planet, until I actually had to stop and turn to tell the stalking assistant that I was looking for the bag from the window display, to which she said laughed and said 'Oh right, I was wondering why a skinny thing like you was in here'. Firstly I'm a 12, and secondly, I felt she was implying that I was up for a bit of plus size shoplifting for shits and giggles or something, so wtf is their store policy?!
    Oh crap I mentioned it.

    J x

    J x

  32. The Style Rawr,

    Seriously? that happened to you in Evans? jeeez some people really don't have a clue about customer service or basic manners LOL

    I think the conclusion to this is that brands need to watch out what their store is saying more and more, and I'm not talking about brand image as marketing but brand image as "how we treat our customers" "how we make our customers feel" with certain decisions.

    Their policy to not drown their stores with clothes or keep stock in the shop light in numbers ends up being discriminatory towards a specific size and that is so wrong. Even more wrong is their reaction, very slow, and quite arrogant in not accepting that a mistake has been made.

  33. I think stores should consider doing what I've seen at some stores in the states - putting the size range on the price tag. If we all knew that we could look and see what sizes are available, we wouldn't be too shy to ask for them.

    I have big feet and I have many times had to ask the assistant to bring out 'the biggest size you have' in a certain shoe. Not a sentence I want to utter about something to cover my bum.

  34. I agree that stores should have a range of sizes on the shop floor, but if you're not capable of asking if your size is in stock then I really think you've got bigger problems than high street merchandising policies! I'm a size 10-14 (depending on the store) and I will always ask if I can't see my size. And yes I have been bigger, and yes I still asked.

  35. Like Nickie said, I also have to ask "what's the biggest size that these shoes come in?" There are one or two stores (but *only* one or two) which I won't shop at again because the response has been a very patronising "Uh, we don't STOCK that size." (Nine West, I'm looking at you).

    But see, I don't mind if they have to go get the shoes from the stock room - I never see my shoe size on the shop floor, but that's because my shoe size is not the size they sell the most of. I understand that.

    If Reiss's policy really is to keep their larger sizes out the back, then sure, that's annoying and probably infuriating for anyone wants that size. Certainly it's all about attitude, and whether they are friendly, helpful, and quick to fetch your size... if they're rude, patronising or disrespectful, then that's the issue we should be concerned with.

    As for the sizes being out back, well... just like the shoe stores and my size 41s, size Large items probably aren't sold as much in Reiss. If they only want minimal stock out, then they will put the sizes they sell the most of. I assume they have done their research into what sizes they sell and this is why they've ousted the Large into the stockroom as a rule. If they sold more Larges they'd surely relegate XS to the back room.

    I'm not surprised if they don't sell as much size L... I wear a 10-12 but I have boobs and a butt too, and have never found Reiss's styles to suit me. Ho hum, I'll shop somewhere else. The only friends I know who shop at Reiss are size S. (Go figure).

    On a side note, the comment about the fact that Reiss counts size 14 as a Large being questionable, well is it really? We've become so obsessed with the idea of what sizes are, when really, ladies, all those numbers or letters are are a guideline so we know roughly which size item to pick off the rack. And I know as a 10-12 I would go for a medium. I don't think "How dare they insinuate that I'm not small!" because this isn't about me, this is about the item I'm trying on.

  36. This is so interesting, it looks like Reiss need to work on both the customer service and internal communications processes as their message seems not to have got through to the shop floor.

  37. Such an interesting read! As I read the post it occurred to me that this happened in the shoe retailers I used to work for back in the day (as per Laura & Nickie's comments). I guess the difference there is that people are accustomed to asking whether they have the shoe in X size as there are only display shoes on show.

    It's different for a fashion retailer I guess because as shoppers we are used to seeing everything available to buy on the shop floor. I bet Reiss are not the only ones to put selected sizes on display. Whilst I don't personally agree with this "policy" from what I understand there's no difference to shoe retailers... they are choosing to have "sample" or "display" items on show. (I'm understanding they have 1 of each size "smaller" size on the shopfloor, maybe I've understood this incorrectly?)

    Customer service is of upmost importance here as is signage. If it was clearly signposted that garments were available in size range X-X, if there were signs to say "if you can't find your size, please ask" and if there were friendly, warm sales consultants on hand would this still be an issue? In some cases, yes, and there's nothing wrong with that but I don't think REISS give an ish about that part of the market.. in which case you probably don't want to shop with them anyway! After all this is what shoe retailers do and it's not too often you hear about people with larger shoe sizes complaining about only smaller sizes being on display - it's mainly due to a rude sales assistant.

    I don't see how or why adding an Large and Extra large of each style onto its racks would make the store visually unappealing. Some part of me thinks REISS know exactly what they are doing, they have a specific target market in mind and are doing well to sell to THAT market. But on the other hand, as a comparison to shoe retailers they are putting out a size 3, size 4 and maybe a size 5. Very rarely would you see a size 6 (let's call a L just for comparision), size 7 (XL) or Size 8 (XXL) in a shoe display. Maybe as above reply they just have VERY poor customer service and awareness and have never had this highlighted to them before?

    Love this post, really opened my eyes! I wonder how many other retailers are exactly the same? xxx

  38. What is sad about this whole thing is that since I wrote this post the only way that REISS have been in contact with me is to send a TWEET to me basically restating what they said to Lynnette.

    Poor show Reiss, Either embrace social media or don't.

    There were a lot of people commenting on this blog post. It would have been polite to actually contact me directly and then I could have passed on your words to others x x

    Such a shame

  39. I think it's great that you've raised this subject here but I don't know that this is such an issue that the need to make a public announcement over it, if I'm truly honest. I think it's something you obviously feel very strongly about, and fair enough... But the stores have admitted their reasons for it, confirmed their policies, and not only stated it to your friend, but to you. I know I'm being a bit devil's advocate here but I'm not really sure what else you were wanting them to say? I think if that was clearer perhaps they would be more inclined to say it? xx

  40. but Claire have they admitted their reasoning behind it? Have they confirmed their policies?

    They tweeted that it wasn't the case that the size Large was kept in the stock room in fact they kept a wide range of sizes on display and were constantly replenishing stock and then my research proved that in some branches it was policy only to have the three smaller
    sizes on display, or when I requested a large in a brand new dress they had no large on the shop floor but some out the back!! Was this a coincidence?

    People have contacted me since saying that they have looked in Reiss and have seen size Large on the floor and that is great.

    My point now is that they read the blog and then chose to communicate through a generic tweet. I personally don't think that is a great way to address any issue raised by customers. A poor use of social media in my opinion.

    X x

  41. wrong, wrong, a thousand times wrong. never shopped there before but certainly won't now. xxx

  42. I like this post really nice and informative

  43. And Reiss are still doing this.... Went into Brent X store today Jan 16 and guess what only 4/6/8 out on rails. Asked for a 14 jacket to try on (I have wide shoulder's though I''m usually a 12 and it appeared via the stock room....


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