In this respect, one must differentiate between physical and on-line retailing.
On-line, the buyer makes the purchase anonymously, in secrecy unless they choose otherwise.
No challenge, no breakdown, Status Quo goes on.
In the real world, things are even more conservative. Big Retail Honcho is looking for ways to increase his income and he does a bit of Market Research.
He discovers that in his customer demographic data that the majority of shoppers would prefer that his policy of separating male and female fashion lines remain unchanged. There is an indication that this may alienate a small segment of the customer base but their effect on turnover is negligible.
Cost/benefit analysis shows that change should only be considered in the longer term with a watching brief set to monitor other associated trends which will influence demand patterns.
Society calls the shots, change Joe Public and the shops will follow. Retailers exploit attitudes, stereotypes and just about every other human weakness but they sure as hell don't create them. They don't have to, we do it all too effectively all by ourselves. Change will only happen when WE make it so and not a moment sooner.
Can anyone prove me wrong and not just hypothetically either?