Sephora, Zara and H&M sign retail pledge to combat in-store racial bias

By Alessandro Carrara 23-May-2022

The retail charter aims to encourage more diversity across marketing, products and branding to help prevent exclusionary treatment before shoppers enter a store

The retailers aim to take action that mitigates racial bias from the shopper experience

The retailers aim to take action that mitigates racial bias from the shopper experience

Sephora and Zara are among 28 major US retailers to sign a charter tackling racial bias in retail.

The Mitigate Racial Bias in Retail Charter aims to provide ‘concrete steps’ in addressing the treatment of black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) shoppers in the retail sector.

The charter was inspired by the Racial Bias in Retail Study, commissioned by Sephora, which explored the ways BIPOC customers experience discrimination in retail settings.

The report found that two in five US retail shoppers have personally experienced unfair treatment on the basis of their race or skin tone.

BIPOC retail shoppers were three times more likely than white shoppers to feel most often judged by their appearance, the report stated.

“At Sephora, diversity, equity and inclusion have long been core to our mission since our US debut more than 20 years ago – but we recognised that the retail experience has not always been welcoming,” said Jean-André Rougeot, President and CEO, Sephora Americas.

“Today, we are proud to have this work resonate in such a deeply impactful way via the Charter, and with the commitment of so many retail signatories, we can collectively work to change the retail experience on a much faster and broader scale.”

Open to All, a nonprofit nondiscrimination campaign, partnered with Sephora to create the charter.

Sephora and Open to All said the growing collaboration also includes the development of resources and education, including training materials and an annual in-person convening.

“The study underscored the pervasiveness of unfair treatment of BIPOC shoppers in retail spaces throughout this country,” said Calla Rongerude, director of Open to All.

“We believe the retail industry should have a zero-tolerance discrimination policy.

"With the commitments from these companies, we can begin to address the problem, act, and start to make shopping more inclusive.”

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The full list of retailers that have joined the Charter to date are:

  • American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (American Eagle, Aerie)
  • Ascena Retail Group (Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, LOFT, Lou & Grey)
  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • Capri Holdings (Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Versace)
  • CarMax
  • Crocs
  • Dick’s
  • Gap Inc. (Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy)
  • H&M
  • J. Crew Group
  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Michaels
  • Movado Group
  • Tapestry (Coach, Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman)
  • Rue 21
  • Sephora
  • Zara

Companies