ASDA attacked over 'size zero' clothing range
An expert on eating disorders has branded plans by Asda to introduce the tiny size 4 - the equivalent of the US size zero - into its teen range as " extremely dangerous".
The retail chain will stock the controversial size 4 as part of its G-21 range, aimed at young girls and teenagers.
The size zero phenomenon prompted an outcry following the death of two models who starved themselves.
Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Mischa Barton and Nicole Richie are hailed as poster girls for the size zero culture.
Asda describes its new range as 'cutting-edge' and 'trendy' and said that it is aimed at girls aged 12 years.
A spokeswoman said that the original label was marked up as 11-12 years, but that it decided to change it to size 4 because "Asda is conscious that teenage girls don't want labels in their clothes with their ages on them" .
However, Jacqueline King of the Eating Disorders Association slammed the move and called it a cynical ploy to sell more clothes.
"To be honest, I'm really quite shocked that a family store like Asda would consider selling this range, given all the hype surrounding it," she said.
"This is all part of the problem. Young girls see this size zero, or four as it is here, on sale and believe they have to slim down to be that size.
"This is an extremely dangerous development and I'm saddened that Asda has felt the need to do this."
Jacqueline said she didn't accept Asda's reason for changing the labels.
"I work with a lot of young girls and I've never heard any of them say they would rather wear a size four than an age 12 label," she said.
"What it does show is just how tiny you have to be to actually wear a size four. I mean, it's aimed at 12-year-olds, but, unfortunately, we're going to get women aged 25 or 30, suffering from anorexia, who are delighted that they can fit into this size."
A spokeswoman for Asda said: "As a family retailer we will not use size four models to promote George clothing. We feel that stick-thin models promote a negative body image for everyday women. It is for this reason that we use Coleen McLoughlin to promote George.
"G21 is designed for 12-year- olds and upwards and it is very clear when looking at the clothes that they have been designed specifically with appeal to teenagers.
"All our other ranges go from size eight to 24."
Meanwhile, high street retailers Tesco and Marks and Spencer said they had no plans to introduce size four into their ranges.
A spokeswoman for Marks and Spencer said: "We stock sizes eight to 22 (on certain lines), with a petite collection available and plus sizes ranging from 22 to 28.
"There are no plans to launch anything below a size eight."