Penneys condemned over sale of padded bras for children
CHILDREN'S charities yesterday slated retailer Penneys for "sexualising children" by selling padded bras to young girls.
The retailer was yesterday forced to withdraw padded bikini tops for seven-year-olds, but is continuing to sell padded bras for girls as young as 10 at its Irish stores.
The Dublin-based company which has 196 stores worldwide apologised for any offence caused by the sale of the padded bikinis and said it would give profits from those already bought to a children's charity. This followed heavy criticism in the UK, with even Conservative leader David Cameron yesterday slamming the sale as "disgraceful".
A spokesperson for the retailer, which operates as Penneys in Ireland and Primark overseas, said the offending bikinis had not been on sale in Irish stores, nor had there been any plans to sell them here because of differences in the market compared to the UK.
However, she defended the continued sale of padded bras for 10-year-old girls in their Irish stores, saying they were "in line with other competitors in the market".
The padded bras are sold as part of an €3 underwear set, with a glittery princess logo. Childrens' charities have condemned the sale of underwear designed to enhance the figures of young girls as inappropriate. Barnardos Director of Advocacy Norah Gibbons said:"Concerns have been expressed to us for some time about the early sexualisation of children. We don't believe it's right and it could give solace to those who seek out children inappropriately."
It was undesirable to encourage young girls to enhance their shape given the strong concerns about body image and anorexia, she said. The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children also criticised the sale.