Topshop’s brand perception has taken a hit since allegations emerged about harassment and bullying of staff by the brand’s owner Sir Philip Green last week.
According to YouGov’s Buzz Score, the young fashion retailer has dropped from 0 to -7 across the general public. Among the brand’s target audience of 18-34 year old women the impact was more significant with the brand falling from +14 to +3.
YouGov’s Buzz Score is calculated on whether someone has heard something about a brand, and if so, if it was positive or negative. The decline in scores for Topshop, which is the flagship brand in Green’s Arcadia empire, was measured from 22 October when the sharp drop in perception begins.
On 25 October Sir Philip was named as the businessman behind a the so-called British #MeToo scandal. Lord Peter Hain used parliamentary privilege to name Sir Philip in the House of Lords as the person who had secured a temporary injunction against The Daily Telegraph preventing the newspaper from publishing allegations of harassment made by former staff who had signed NDAs.
Sir Philip issued a statement denying the allegations and over the weekend, in an interview with the Daily Mail, said that he had exchanged “banter” with staff over the years but had said he had not intended to cause offence and was happy to apologise if any was taken.
While the episode has certainly caused short-term damage to the brand’s perception, it remains to be seen what the long-term impact might be and YouGov says the brand faces further challenges such as competition from online players including ASOS and Boohoo.
“Both brands have significantly higher Value scores than Topshop among women aged 18-34, for example. With this in mind, even if Topshop was to emerge relatively unscathed from this period, it would still face huge challenges in the months ahead,” said YouGov founder and global CEO Stephan Shakespeare.