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Penneys set to ditch unisex changing rooms following customer complaints

‘We want our stores to be places where everyone feels safe and welcome,’ the company said in a statement.

Penney's. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Penneys is making a return to women-only changing rooms after complaints about unisex spaces in the UK hit the store in recent weeks.

The fashion giant came under fire online following a viral TikTok where a woman said two men tried to walk in on her changing in a Primark store in the UK.

According to Extra.ie, a similar incident occurred in an Irish store, reporting that one employee alleged “a girl came out very upset and crying because a guy had dropped his phone under the curtain and she thought he was taking photos.”

In a statement, Penneys said the company “listened to feedback from our customers and colleagues” and will be making changes to Irish stores “in the coming weeks.”

"We want our stores to be places where everyone feels safe and welcome,” the company said in a statement.

“We’re sorry to hear this hasn’t been the experience some people have reported in our fitting rooms.”

Stores will maintain unisex changing rooms while also providing a women-only space for customers.

The store reassured customers in early October that the unisex area “is for everyone.”

"The women-only area is for all women and customers are not required to provide identification.

"If someone appears to be deliberately trying to abuse the policy then the store will manage at their discretion.”

The same changes are also coming to Penneys – known as Primark – in the UK.

The company said dedicated fitting rooms will be available to women and a separate space that everyone can use will also be in operation.

"We are making the cubicles more secure by introducing longer curtains and a new mechanism to hold the curtains firmly in place,” Primark UK said.

“We are refreshing our colleague training in order to ensure that our teams have everything they need to manage the fitting rooms in our stores and support our customers using them.”

These changes to cubicles will also be coming to Irish stores.

Penneys said 25 out of 37 stores in Ireland will have a dedicated womens fitting room area and a combined fitting room area.

"In the two stores that only have one changing room area, we are exploring other options.”

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