It has been reported by several media sources that a number of lingerie stores in Saudi Arabia have been forced to close due to government regulations introduced in January prohibiting the employment of men as sales assistants. They have been told by the Ministry of Labour that they cannot re-open until male workers have been entirely replaced by females. Retailers who continue to flout the regulations face prosecution.
Men are no longer welcome inside lingerie stores at all and shop owners are required to place security guards on the door to prevent them entering. Female sales assistants must wear a hijab.
It’s not all bad news though – since the ruling came into force lingerie sales have reportedly increased by 30% because, according to the Saudi Gazette, ‘Women are comfortably shopping and working in lingerie shops in all regions of the Kingdom for now they do not have the fear of being harassed’.
The newspaper quoted one store worker as saying: “Employing women at lingerie shops is a relief for both customers and Saudi women seeking stable jobs. The owner of this business, who was quick to implement the Royal Decree, noticed a sharp rise in sales over the past two months. I have been particularly busy at the store since the beginning of this week. The women who come in are relieved to see me. They are not shy to ask my help to find the right size and colour, and about special bargains and discounted items.”