“Stop ignoring fashion savvy, middle aged women with money to spend” says retail expert, Kate Hardcastle MBE

In the wake of Bonmarché’s board reconsidering Philip Day’s £5.7m takeover bid, Customer Whisperer, Kate Hardcastle MBE urges the billionaire retailer to stop ignoring its middle aged, female customers who are fashion conscious and have money to spend, and to instead focus on understanding what todays demanding consumers are looking for.

In a survey conducted by JD Williams in 2017, the online retailer identified that 70% of 45-65 year old women felt ignored and dissatisfied by the high street. The ‘Midster’ report which focused heavily on body confidence, style and shopping behaviours, as well as key lifestyle moments and work-life balance, revealed that when it came to fashion, the industry is failing to provide what women want.

Two years on, retailers are still making the same mistakes and not listening to this generation of confident, style conscious women who have money in their pockets to spend and a desire to dress well. Brands like Primark, Sainsbury’s TU range and Zara are a few who have successfully tapped into the ‘Midster’ market, but others are failing to move ahead with the times.

“A change in attitude is long overdue and I’m still amazed at how this market hasn’t been tapped into successfully. These women aren’t interested in following high fashion, but certainly don’t want to wear twinsets. There is a huge opportunity to create a stylish womenswear collection for these savvy shoppers.” encourages Kate.

“These women know what they want. They have so much information at their fingertips via social media and their peer groups, and are still keen to dress like their favourite celebrities. For a brand to succeed it needs to be desirable and offer products they know their customers want. This year is becoming the worst for store closures in five years, and it’s largely down to retailers, like Bonmarché, not listening to its customers. Brands need to be ahead of the times and invest in understanding their market opportunities, but most importantly ensure they are a brand people want to be seen in.”

Rob Eaton, current British Hairdresser of the Year nominee and Creative Director of Russell Eaton Salons says; “Consumers generally want something fresher – newer and not dated. I see women aged 40-60 years old requesting a huge range of styles – a client in their 60’s might want hair extensions, pastel pink toner and generally want to have more fun! Everyone is looking for a more bespoke, personalised and unique experience in the salon. They are certainly aware of fashion and maintaining a youthful appearance. Hair is the ultimate fashion accessory, but if you get the outfit wrong it will ruin the look.”

Kate Hardcastle is an award-winning consumer expert and a regular contributor to national and international media. She is also the founder of Insight with Passion and is the consumer expert on ITV’s Eat, Shop, Save and the BBC’s Rip-Off Britain.


Press information:

Nina Lancaster

Little House PR

07810 438028


About Kate Hardcastle MBE

• Kate Hardcastle MBE is The Customer Whisperer - a leading consumer expert in the UK and from ITV’s Eat, Shop, Save • Kate is an award-winning businesswoman – founder of business transformation agency, Insight With Passion • Kate is a TV business expert featured daily across national and international media, including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky • Kate was awarded MBE for her Services to Business in 2018 • Kate is a trustee and ambassador of The Diana Award

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