Primark recovers following pre-teen bikini accusations

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Fri, 14/05/2010 - 15:20

BrandIndex scores indicate low-cost high street store Primark's image is recovering well, four weeks after the fashion retailer was accused of sexualising children by selling padded bikini tops aimed at pre-teens.

Primark was hit by a barrage of negative publicity on April 14th when it was revealed that it was targeting padded bikini tops at girls as young as seven, prompting concern and condemnation from parents and child welfare groups. Occurring in the midst of a general election campaign, it did not go unnoticed by the main party leaders, with Conservative leader David Cameron branding Primark's actions 'disgraceful'.

The controversy over the £4 bikini sets clearly had an impact on Primark's BrandIndex performance, with its 'Buzz' and 'Recommend' scores taking a hit. As can be seen from the graph below, Primark's 'Buzz' score fell dramatically from +7.4 on April 14th to a low of -4.2 on April 28th, reflecting the prevailing outrage surrounding the shop. Its BrandIndex 'Recommend' score, which is gauged by asking whether respondents would recommend the brand to others, also saw a significant drop falling from +5.8 on April 14th to +0.9 on April 30th.

However, recent weeks have seen Primark's image begin to recover, indicating that such a level of negative feeling towards the brand has dissipated quickly. As the graphs below show, its 'Buzz' score has risen significantly from -4.2 on April 28th to +6 on May 11th, which suggests that the bad taste left in the public's mouth did not last long – the majority are no longer equating Primark with negative sentiments. Similarly, Primark's 'Recommend' score reached +3.5 on the same day, up 2.6 points from April 30th.

It seems that Primark may be successfully putting the padded bikini top scandal behind them.

Primark's 'Buzz' and 'Recommend' scores
Chart Image
People Illustration