Morrisons to switch from gender to price-based toy marketing

Supermarket performs u-turn by introducing pricing categorisation for toys in store.

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Morrisons is switching away from a gender-based toy marketing strategy to one based on pricing.

The supermarket previously told Marketing Week it had “no plans” to change its in-store displays, which included marking toys as for boys or girls and using pink and blue colouring. It claimed customers are happy with the way it merchandises toys because it makes the range easier to navigate.

However, the supermarket says it is now planning to implement price-based navigation and end the use of pink and blue.

A recent report from pressure group Let Toys Be Toys found that Morrisons had the “most gendered” in-store signage. The campaign group claims that the supermarket initially agreed to update marketing in its stores by summer 2013. It is not clear when the new marketing strategy will be implemented in its stores.

Let Toys Be Toys wants retailers to stop marketing toys by gender by ending use the use of signage such as “Boys’ toys” and Girls’ toys” or by colour-coding areas pink and blue. The campaign has seen some success, with Morrisons joining a growing list of retailers that have agreed to end the practice, including M&S, Tesco, Next and Toys ‘R’ Us.

MPs have also backed the campaign. Speaking at a recent parliamentary debate, consumer affairs minister Jenny Willott said companies and shops that market toys specifically for boys or girls are having a negative impact on the economy, stopping women taking up careers in typically male-dominated sectors such as science and engineering and men moving into fashion or design.

“The way we play as children informs the skills we develop. Girls and boys take in the classroom assumptions they develop as part of playing. It is a really important issues and it’s fundamentally important to our economy,” she added.

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