Retailers bank on pink as attitudes towards colour taboos start to shift

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The Independent Online

The lure of a new pink pound is prompting retailers to abandon gender stereotypes that have dominated shop shelves for decades.

A parental backlash against colour-coding toys according to their child's gender is starting to bite, with one company targeting a pink version of its product at boys for the first time. The latest Micro-scooters catalogue features boys riding its new bubblegum pink Maxi Micro.

Recent collections from H&M have drawn heavily on pink; while Marks & Spencer's latest boys' range features pink T-shirts.

Micro-scooters said research suggested parents had changed their attitudes towards colour stereotypes, with half of the 2,000 mums they surveyed saying they look for pink clothes for their sons.

The lucrative potential of the new pink pound is evident: boys' products comprised 53 per cent of all toys bought last year, worth £1.53bn to the industry.

Philippa Gogarty, who co-runs Micro-scooters, said the company had taken its lead from the sporting world: the French rugby team Stade Francais plays in a pink strip, and Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendter wears pink boots. "Pink is becoming more acceptable across the board," she said.

The new pink Maxi Micro, which launched only four weeks ago, is already the company's best-selling product.

Emma Moore, from the campaign group Pink Stinks, labelled Micro-scooter's move as "brave".

Boys' reactions to owning a pink scooter varied considerably. Alexander, seven, said he didn't mind what colour his scooter was, provided it went fast; while Jamie, five, said he would hate to have one and would "probably break it into pieces".

Adam Morgan, partner at the brand consultancy eatbigfish, questioned whether Micro-scooters had flipped convention on its head because it thinks "stereotypes are wrong" or as a "playful way to get attention".