HMV: ‘Staff tattoo ban was designed to attract broader customers’

High street retailer explains controversial decision

HMV has issued a statement defending its decision to ban members of staff from displaying any prominent tattoos and wearing scruffy shoes.

In a not-very rock ‘n’ roll move, the chain reportedly issued a new “appearance policy” last month which dictates that staff must be neat and clean – and wear new trainers. Men must wear blue denim jeans and women must wear denim skirts.

The retailer says “discreet” tattoos or piercings are allowed but “extreme body art” must be removed or covered up. It also says that bosses expect “high standards of personal grooming”.

In an interview with Marketing Week, the company’s marketing manager Mark Hodgkinson says he stands by the policy and hopes it will help bring more customers into stores.

He said: “[The appearance policy] has been taken out of context and sensationalised and we’ve given a wrong impression of what we want to do. It is is part of something bigger within HMV about being really welcoming and inclusive to customers and encouraging more diversity of customers and making them feel comfortable, welcomed and embraced by our stores.”

He added: “We will continue to embrace diversity in our colleagues – we have one of the least stringent codes in retail and we’ll continue to – we’re just saying where it is too extreme, bear in mind we’re trying to attract broader customers and it could be something that would deter some customers.”