Change room labelled a 'disgrace' as Aussies slam the state of retail stores

A consumer expert says the country is seeing a decline in cleanliness across retail stores.

A changing room in a women's clothing store has left some people disgusted and others slamming the "state of retail" in Australia.

Footage of a Sportsgirl change room in Queensland shows a stained carpet and mounds of dust built up on the sides. "This is the floor in the change room Sportsgirl at 9.35am this morning. Disgusting," the woman wrote alongside the footage on Friday. "The state of retail stores today."

Professor of Marketing and Consumer psychology at Macquarie University, Jana Bowden told Yahoo News Australia the country is seeing a "decline" in the state of cleanliness of change rooms in retail stores. "Whether this is due to reductions in retail staffing, lack of attention to detail or sheer laziness and complete disregard, is open for speculation," she said.

The dirty carpet on the floor of the Sportsgirl change room.
The Sportsgirl change room has been labelled 'disgraceful' online. Source: Facebook/TikTok

Since seeing the footage, others have shared their own experiences with "disgraceful" change rooms. "The Target in Bundaberg tops this!! It’s disgusting ceiling to floor," one exclaimed.

"Then you have to do that awkward balancing on your shoe thing while trying on pants," another added, recalling similar change rooms they'd been in.

Some were horrified by the footage, saying they wouldn't step foot in the room. "Yuck. I wouldn’t be getting undressed in there," one said. "That’s disgraceful," a second added.

Yahoo has reached out to Sportsgirl for comment but has not received a response.

Expert labels state of change rooms a 'disaster'

Bowden explained how detrimental poor cleanliness in a store can be, saying "from a brand management perspective it's a disaster". "Dressing rooms are a core part of the brand image and alone, they can make or break the customer's decision to buy," she said.

"Change rooms that are grotty, cramped and poorly kept make customers feel negative and shift our psychology so that we want to high-tail it out of there," Bowden said. "Who wants to spend time trying on clothes in an unhygienic-looking, stained cesspool of a room?

"So many change rooms are designed without the customer in mind— the mind boggles."

Many Australians still shop in person

Online shopping has experienced growth since the pandemic and, according to Finder, 3 in 4 Australians shop online (excluding groceries). Despite this, in person shopping is still leading the way and in November 2023, online sales made up just 12.7% of all retail spending in Australia.

Statista data paints a similar picture, showing that in 2023, the total spend on retail in Australia was around $360 billion, while online sales were just over $63b.

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