While shops such as Selfridges have, in the past few months, begun to embrace a genderless approach to shopping and fashion, it seems New Look has decided to go in the opposite direction.
This weekend the high street retailer announced that it will be creating two entrances for its stores – one for women, and one for men.
The reason? Because New Look wants to be recognised as much as a destination for male shoppers as it does for female. And it thinks that creating separate entrances will help encourage men to think of it in this way.
Speaking to the Independent on Sunday, a spokesperson for New Look said: 'We can confirm that we will be opening new stores this year with separate menswear and womenswear entrances to further promote New Look Men to our customers.'
However, while New Look CEO Anders Kristiansen has projected that the introduction of a men's entrance will help increase menswear sales by 25 per cent, high street expert Mary Portas isn't so sure.
'When nearly 60 per cent of buying decisions are made by women – and they often buy for their men – it seems a bit mad to push your clothing out from under our noses. Also shopping with a partner is fun, so why would you cut that out by having separate doors,' Portas told the Independent.
We're not sure that we'd agree with Portas about shopping with a partner being fun – anyone else seen how bored those blokes look on the sofas outside the Topshop changing rooms? But we do know that we're guilty of maybe picking up a purchase for our partner from time to time. Plus, sometimes it's the men's section we're after for ourselves. Everyone knows that the perfect sweaters are to be found in the men's department (just check out Uniqlo and M&S if you haven't already), and so we really hope this doesn't signal the beginning of a gender segregated high street.
With New Look already having a solid reputation as a womenswear store, we'd hazard it's going to take more than a new door to give the brand a whole new identity.