42 Leading Retailer Brands Join National Effort to Stop Retail Racism
Cartier, CBL Properties, Ben Bridge Jeweler, Glossier, LVMH, Maurices, URBN, The Body Shop, and Yelp are the latest companies to sign the national charter aimed at reducing racially-biased and unfair treatment in retail.
Media Contact: Kassidy Braziel, Open to All | firstname.lastname@example.org | 954-296-5280
December 1, 2022 — National nonprofit Open to All today announced that an additional 42 retail brands and two other major retail industry supporters have signed the Mitigate Racial Bias in Retail Charter, a commitment to take concrete steps to ensure a more welcoming environment for all shoppers by reducing racially biased experiences and unfair treatment. New signatories include Cartier, CBL Properties, Ben Bridge Jeweler, Glossier, LVMH, Maurices, URBN (Anthropologie, Free People, Nuuly, and Urban Outfitters), The Body Shop, and Yelp.
Since the Charter launched with 28 retailers in May, Open to All has continued to hear from retailers who acknowledge the pervasiveness of discriminatory treatment and want to take action to address the problem and create spaces that are truly open to all.
“LVMH is proud to sign the Mitigate Racial Bias in Retail Charter alongside many of our Maisons, including the co-initiator Sephora, to drive lasting change in the retail industry,” said Anish Melwani, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, LVMH North America. “LVMH creates products that maintain a standard of excellence by bringing together diverse talent, skills, and experiences to serve all of our customers. Signing the charter is an actionable step in our ongoing commitment to eradicating racism from the retail experience and ensuring that all of our customers feel valued and respected in our stores.”
The Charter, co-initiated by Open to All and Sephora, was inspired by the Racial Bias in Retail Study, a groundbreaking national study commissioned by Sephora that explored the ways in which BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) shoppers experience discrimination in retail settings. The report found that two in five U.S. retailer shoppers have personally experienced unfair treatment based on their race or skin tone, and that BIPOC retail shoppers were three times more likely than white shoppers to feel most often judged by their appearance.
“At Sephora, we’re proud to have co-initiated the Charter with Open to All and applaud these new U.S. retailer signatories in joining all of us in championing industry impact. This cross-collaboration is key in working to address and prevent systemic racism in U.S. retail environments and the culture at-large,” said George-Axelle Broussillon Matschinga, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Sephora. “We lead with a values-first mindset at Sephora – it’s a guiding principle in all we do as an organization, and having a coalition of like-minded businesses able to share and exchange ideas and best practices is especially encouraging to drive meaningful change for shoppers everywhere.”
“The Charter collaboration is rooted in impact and action, and specifically calls on companies to prevent exclusionary treatment before shoppers enter a store and during their in-store experience,” said Calla Rongerude, director of Open to All. “Open to All is grateful to our corporate and nonprofit partners, who are demonstrating a commitment to training their workforce, diversifying marketing and product assortment, and taking other tangible steps that create a culture of belonging for BIPOC shoppers and employees.”
Since June, Open to All has been holding monthly meetings with members and supporters to discuss how to track the impact of the Charter’s DEI initiatives. Work is also ongoing with loss prevention departments to address how to curtail harassment, racial profiling, and bias in loss-prevention practices. The monthly curriculum features experts and guest speakers including leaders from Diversity Best Practices, Sephora, and Mentor Spaces to provide ongoing learning for all companies that sign the Charter.
“We are proud to join with a number of our retail partners and sign on to this important Charter,” said Stephen Lebovitz, CEO of CBL properties, a company that owns malls and shopping centers across the nation. “We are looking forward to working with Open to All and the rest of the Charter companies to find solutions and drive change that will reduce racial bias and promote fair treatment to all of the visitors to our properties.”
On October 17 and 18, Charter members gathered in San Francisco to share best practices and set goals for 2023. In advance of the meeting, members completed a survey to assess their work in the Charter’s key areas of focus:
- Increasing diversity across marketing, products, branding, and the workforce to help prevent exclusionary treatment before shoppers enter a store.
- Providing critical employee training on the experience of shoppers of color to help address the disconnect between how BIPOC shoppers and store employees interpret interactions.
- Creating a feedback mechanism to improve service and report back on any meaningful actions and progress toward fostering more inclusive experiences for BIPOC shoppers.
Our survey found that 44% of respondents signed the Charter to generate a collective impact at the industry level. Others cited changing in-store shopping experiences (28%) as well as learning and sharing best practices (22%) as their primary motivations for joining the collaboration. Upon signing the Charter, companies have cultivated buy-in by partnering with other teams (83%), involving chief executive officers or additional executive-level managers (39%), establishing internal working groups (39%), and working externally with BIPOC clients (11%).
In terms of training, 59% of those surveyed reported using or planning to use Open to All’s Reduce Racial Bias in Retail training. Released in June 2022, the two-hour Reduce Racial Bias in Retail (R3) training combines live instruction and self-directed learning to educate staff on what racial bias looks, sounds, and feels like in retail settings. Built for signatories and supporters of Open to All’s Mitigate Racial Bias in Retail Charter, the R3 training equips employees with practical strategies to decrease racial bias incidents and foster inclusive shopping experiences.
In 2023, Open to All will begin reporting on the impact of the Charter to coincide with future annual convenings.
“We are proud to partner with Open to All in our ongoing journey to ensure everyone feels welcome in our stores,” says Frank Conforti, Co-President & COO of URBN. “We look forward to partnering with Open to All and our peers in the retail industry to continuously improve the customer and employee experience.”
The full list of U.S. retailers and retail companies that have joined the Charter are American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (American Eagle, Aerie), Ben & Jerry’s, Ben Bridge Jeweler, The Body Shop, Capri Holdings (Versace, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors), Cartier, CBL Properties, Crocs, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Fresh, GAP, Inc., Glossier, H&M, J. Crew Group, Levi Strauss & Co., LVMH, Maurices, Michaels, Movado Group, Rimowa, Tapestry (Coach, Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman), rue 21, SEPHORA, URBN (Anthropologie, Free People, Nuuly, Urban Outfitters), and Zara.
Non-retail companies, institutions, NGOs, and nonprofits can also support the Charter by becoming a supporter of the Charter and taking the Open to All pledge. Those supporters, to date, include American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), Bend the Arc, Benefit Cosmetics, CenterLink, Disability:IN, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), KENDO Brands, Mentor Spaces, Moët Hennessy USA, Muslim Advocates, National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), National CARES Mentoring Movement, Right to Be, The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing, Travel Unity, Wundher, and Yelp.
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