Ann Summers

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Ann Summers Ltd
Private Ltd)
Industry Retail
Founded1970, London
Headquarters Caterham, Surrey, UK
Number of locations
140 high street stores
Area served
United Kingdom
Ireland
Channel Islands
Key people
David Gold
Jacqueline Gold (CEO)
Vanessa Gold (MD)
Products Clothing
Sex toys
Revenue£109.96 million (2018) [1]
Website www.annsummers.com
Ann Summers store in West Yorkshire Ann Summers - The Piazza Centre - geograph.org.uk - 1700592.jpg
Ann Summers store in West Yorkshire
Ann Summers store in London Ann-Summers-1.jpg
Ann Summers store in London
Ann Summers store in Hull Ann Summers Shop - geograph.org.uk - 242230.jpg
Ann Summers store in Hull

Ann Summers is a British multinational retailer company specialising in sex toys and lingerie, with over 140 high street stores in the UK, Ireland, and the Channel Islands. [2] In 2000, Ann Summers acquired the Knickerbox brand, [3] a label with an emphasis on more comfortable and feminine underwear, while the Ann Summers-labelled products tend to be more erotic in style. The chain had an annual turnover of £117.3 million in 2007–2008.

Contents

History

The company was named after Annice Summers, the female secretary of the male founder, Michael Caborn-Waterfield.

Annice Summers, who was born Annice Goodwin in 1941 but later took her stepfather's surname, left the company soon after it opened following a row with Caborn-Waterfield. She went to live in Umbria, Italy, two hours from Rome, and died of cancer in October 2012. [4]

In 2000, Ann Summers acquired the underwear brand Knickerbox for an undisclosed sum. However, in 2014 they announced plans to sell the brand. [5]

Retail

The first Ann Summers shop was opened in 1970 in Marble Arch, London, from which it grew to six shops.

Ann Summers was purchased in 1971 by brothers Ralph and David Gold, [6] who turned it from a standard sex shop into an established high street brand and lingerie boutique. In 1981, David Gold installed his daughter Jacqueline Gold (who is the current Chief Executive of Ann Summers) and she introduced the Party Plan concept.[ citation needed ] The retail operations for all of Ann Summers' shops are managed from the Head Office in Whyteleafe, Surrey, and as of December 2010 Ann Summers operates 144 retail outlets across the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and Spain.

The shops offer lingerie, underwear, cosmetics, swimwear and sex toys. The stores sell 2 million Rampant Rabbits, a kind of vibrator exclusive[ citation needed ] to Ann Summers, per year. [7]

Party Plan

Jacqueline Gold initiated the Party Plan concept in 1981. [7] Initially, the Ann Summers parties were as much a way of circumventing regulations restricting the display of sex toys as they were a marketing tactic, but their popularity quickly grew and Ann Summers now employs over 7,500 Party Organisers, [8] coordinated from the Head Office in Surrey. There are around 4,000 Ann Summers Parties every week in the UK. [9]

The Ann Summers parties are exclusively women-only, [9] and include the presentation of sex toys and lingerie in the informal setting of someone's home; usually the home of one of the attendees. It can also involve the perusal of a catalogue, and often there are party games. [10]

Controversy

Due to the adult nature of the business, Ann Summers has frequently faced opposition, both legal and social. For example, in 2003, they won a legal battle to advertise for employees in job centres [11] and an ASA complaint was rejected. [12]

They have also encountered opposition to their advertising. The company received a letter of complaint from Buckingham Palace, due to a non-endorsed advert featuring the Queen. [13]

In 2003, the company's payments to party organisers were discussed by a number of media sources. [14]

In 2004, two complaints were upheld by the ASA. [15] The ASA decided that the first ad was degrading to women, offensive and unsuitable for use as a poster. In the second case the ASA ruled that the use of a reference to the nursery rhyme "Ride a Cock Horse" was likely to attract the attention of children and that the advertisement was unsuitable for the medium in which it appeared.

Ann Summers lingerie factory in Portsmouth closed in 2005, with over 50 redundancies. [16]

Additionally, Ann Summers in Perth, Scotland, was forced to close after the local people complained about the store (mostly from parents embarrassed by questions raised by their children), which also led to other problems with the store. [17] Perth was originally the only UK town where an Ann Summers store failed to take off. [18] However, in May 2007 the Middleton Grange, Hartlepool store which opened in November 2005 was closed after less than two years of trading due to poor sales. [19]

In 2006, Muslim groups complained about the release of a blow up doll named Mustafa Shag, claiming that the doll was offensive to Muslims as Mustafa was one of the names given to the Prophet Mohamed. [20]

In 2007, the company faced legal issues with Apple Inc due to its release of an electronic add-on to music players called the iGasm. The company has not backed down despite cease and desist orders by Apple. [21] Also, a former director, who is now a Beate Uhse AG employee [22] is pursuing a libel claim against Jacqueline Gold. [23] An advert was banned from the London Underground in the same year. [24]

In 2010, Ann Summers' Halloween advert was banned by the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre, which decided the advert used "fairly overt sexual references in terms of sound effects." [25]

In 2011 an advertising campaign which featured a pastiche of a Marks and Spencer advert was withdrawn after a threat of legal action by M&S. [26]

Related Research Articles

Lingerie

Lingerie is a category of primarily women's clothing including undergarments, sleepwear, and lightweight robes. The specific choice of the word is often motivated by an intention to imply that the garments are alluring, fashionable or both. In a 2015 US survey 75% of women and 26% of men reported having worn sexy lingerie in their lifetime.

Sex shop Shop that sells products related to sexual or erotic entertainment

A sex shop is a retailer that sells products related to adult sexual or erotic entertainment, such as vibrators, lingerie, clothing, pornography, and other related products.

Agent Provocateur (lingerie)

Agent Provocateur is a British lingerie retailer founded in 1994 by Joseph Corré and Serena Rees. The company has stores in 13 countries.

William Hill plc is a bookmaker based in London, England. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

David Gold (businessman)

David Gold is an English businessman. He was the chairman of Birmingham City Football Club until 2009. Since 2010, he has been the joint chairman of West Ham United.

Beate Uhse AG

Beate Uhse AG is a German industry group which focuses on selling adult entertainment in the form of sex toys, lingerie, clothing and pornography. It is the most successful company in the German sex industry, and the country's leading pornography retailer.

Committee of Advertising Practice Advertising regulation authority in the United Kingdom

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is a British organisation responsible for the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing, which is the main code of practice for self-regulation of the non-broadcast advertising industry in the UK.

Vibrator (sex toy)

A vibrator, sometimes described as a massager, is a sex toy that is used on the body to produce pleasurable sexual stimulation. There are many different shapes and models of vibrators. Most 2010-era vibrators contain an electric-powered device which pulsates or throbs. Vibrators can be used for both solo play and partnered play by one or more people. Devices exist to be used by couples to stimulate the genitals of both partners. They can be applied to erogenous zones, such as the clitoris, the vulva or vagina, penis, scrotum or anus, for sexual stimulation, for the release of sexual frustration and to achieve orgasm. Vibrators may be recommended by sex therapists for women who have difficulty reaching orgasm through masturbation or intercourse.

Jacqueline Gold

Jacqueline Summers Gold is a British businesswoman who is Chief Executive of Gold Group International, Ann Summers and Knickerbox.

Social impact of thong underwear Ranging from a ban on wearing thongs to celebrities wearing them on stage

The social impact of thong underwear has been covered extensively in the media, ranging from a ban on wearing thongs to thongs for the underaged. The rise of thong usage has been asserted by Christian minister Oneil McQuick to be linked to a rise of sexualization in society, and by Christian writer Philo Thelos to be linked to a rise in a desire to go unclothed.

Lauren Gold is an English model and actress. Gold is most recognised as the DJ in Robbie Williams's "Rock DJ" music video as well as her recurring appearance in La Senza ad campaigns. Gold's best known acting role is Scarlett Rose in Sky One drama Dream Team.

Advertising Standards Authority (United Kingdom) Advertising regulation authority in the United Kingdom

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry in the United Kingdom. The ASA is a non-statutory organisation and so cannot interpret or enforce legislation. However, its code of advertising practice broadly reflects legislation in many instances. The ASA is not funded by the British government, but by a levy on the advertising industry.

Thong Garment generally worn as either underwear or as a swimsuit in some countries

The thong is a garment generally used as either underwear or as a swimsuit in some countries. It may also be worn for traditional ceremonies or competitions.

Erotica was an adult, consumer exhibition held each November at Olympia, London, UK. A mainstream ‘lifestyle show’ aimed primarily at women and couples, where visitors were encouraged to celebrate or re-kindle their relationships with goods and services aimed to enhance their love lives. Erotica's organisers have claimed that it is the world's largest lifestyle show "for freethinking adults who are comfortable with their sexuality". Erotica cancelled its 2014 show and has since shut its doors.

Underwear as outerwear Fashion trend

Wearing underwear as outerwear is a fashion trend popularized by celebrities, sports and media. It began as a practical and comfortable variation of clothing, such as the T-shirt and the bikini, but would later become fashion statements that would be controversial and accused of being provocative. 21st century versions include the display of thongs and bras in women's clothing, and the display of underpants under low-slung pants in men. Wearing underwear as outerwear has historical antecedents in the display of undergarments in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

La Perla is an Italian luxury lifestyle company owned by German entrepreneur Lars Windhorst through Sapinda Group.

Pussy is a carbonated energy drink produced by Pussy Drinks Ltd in the UK. The drink and brand were created by Jonnie Shearer around 2004. In April 2013 part of the advertising campaign for Pussy was banned in the UK by the Advertising Standards Authority for being sexually explicit.

Ralph Gold is a British businessman. He is a former director of English football team, Birmingham City. Gold is a co-founder of the Ann Summers the Knickerbox retail chain and is the brother of David Gold who was also a director at Birmingham City and is a director of Ann Summers and Knickerbox.

Paul Golding

Paul Golding is a British far-right political leader and the leader of Britain First.

<i>Brief Encounters</i> (TV series)

Brief Encounters is a British comedy-drama series created by Oriane Messina and Fay Rusling. The series is loosely based on Gold Group International CEO Jacqueline Gold's 1995 memoir, Good Vibrations, and details the beginning of the Ann Summers retailer company, through four women who see the potential of finding happiness and fulfillment by selling lingerie and sex toys to women in the privacy of their own homes. The series was produced by CPL Productions for broadcast on ITV and aired from 4 July to 8 August 2016. Filming took place between January and April 2016 in Sheffield. It was well received by critics gaining 8.4 out of 10 on IMDb.

References

  1. "Turnover of Ann Summers worldwide from financial year 2010 to 2018". Statista. January 2019. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  2. "Ann Summers Store Finder". Archived from the original on 25 December 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  3. "Ann Summers to buy Knickerbox". BBC News. 3 April 2000. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  4. "MRS SEX; Girl behind Ann Summers legend is now rich recluse". 3 April 2000 via The Free Library.
  5. Armstrong, Ashley (15 March 2014). "Ann Summers to sell Knickerbox". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  6. ZapelliA Web Solutions - www.zapellia.co.uk (31 March 2000). "The History of Ann Summers". Ann Summers Party Plan. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  7. 1 2 "Jacqueline-Gold-profile-of-the-chief-executive-of-Ann-Summers". The Telegraph. London. 24 December 2010. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  8. "DB Consulting : Ann Summers" (PDF). Dbconsulting.co.uk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  9. 1 2 Oaff, Barbara (3 September 2003). "Ann Summers Party Organisers". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  10. "Ann Summers Catalogue pdf" (PDF). Ann Summers. 24 December 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  11. "Sex toy chain overturns job adverts ban". Business.scotsman.com. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  12. "'Hotbot' adult poster banned". BBC News. 9 April 2003. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  13. Cozens, Claire (26 June 2002). "Queen is not amused by Ann Summers sex ad | Media | MediaGuardian". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  14. Barbara Oaff. "Wage slaves: Ann Summers party organisers | Money | The Guardian". Money.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  15. Archived 17 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  16. "Jobs fear at saucy lingerie plant". Portsmouth.co.uk. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  17. "The latest news, sport, showbiz and comment from". the Sunday Mail. 11 August 2009. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  18. "The latest news, sport, showbiz and comment from". the Sunday Mail. 11 August 2009. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  19. Willis, Ian (15 May 2007). "It's the last of the Summers line". Hartlepool Mail. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  20. "Emma, Ann and a sex doll that upsets Muslims". London: News.independent.co.uk. 9 February 2006. Archived from the original on 11 October 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  21. "Apple v Ann Summers in iGasm spat". Macworld.co.uk. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  22. Michael Vaughan, Beate Uhse (30 October 2002). "Sex war threat haunts UK High Streets". BBC News. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  23. Archived 23 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  24. "Ann Summers Rabbit ads banned from the Tube". 23 August 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  25. "Ann Summers has 'offensive' Halloween advert banned | Metro News". Metro.co.uk. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  26. "Ann Summers pulls Squeal Deal after M&S threats". 20 April 2011. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.