Retail sex war harms profits

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The Independent Online
STORES HAVE been losing up to a quarter of what women shoppers would spend on a trip due to the antics of their male partners trying to get out of the shop, a survey has revealed.

The survey, by retail analysts David J Peek Associates, asked shoppers all over the countrywhat annoyed them most about their partner while shopping.

Women were described as the "driving force" behind most shopping trips but said outings were frequently sabotaged by a bored and disaffected male.

Among the most frequent complaints were men getting annoyed when their partners did not grab the first thing to hand and dash to the cash till. Men were also accused of always wanting to buy the cheapest thing on offer, using traffic and lack of parking to get out of shopping and sulking when they missed football or rugby on the television. Other tricks included putting on a show of "road rage" at the start of the trip to create a bad atmosphere.

Many men got children to support them by reminding them what they could be doing if they were not shopping, and male partners also made observations that undermined women's confidence when asked for advice, the study said.

The same women said that when their partners offered constructive advice and support they spent as much as 25 per cent more than they intended.

Women's tactics for curtailing a tour of men's shops were far more subtle and emotional.The men told how their partners would complain of tiredness, aching feet and just "not being well" or pretend they were worried about the children or where the car was parked.

The plaintive cry of "Does my bum look big in this?" before complaining about the answer also drove men mad, researchers found. Men also hated having to look at everything in the shop and women disappearing after reaching the head of the queue to look at something else. But men agreed that if their partners were more supportive they would spend more.

The author David Peek said: "A typical successful strategy was initiated years ago when it was realised that children are serious shopping saboteurs. Retailers introduced play areas, creches and other facilities.

"But now I believe is the time to introduce play areas for grown-ups - imaginative places where the disaffected partner can be parked happily while shopping goes on."