Is Primark ready to bust out in the USA?
With its new Chicago location, fast-fashion retailer Primark is opening its first U.S. store outside of the East Coast. The 45,000-square-foot space on State Street near Michigan Avenue that formerly housed a Gap will be the chain’s ninth American store overall.
“We are fortunate to have found and secured such an impressive location in the heart of the vibrant Chicago market,” said Tom Meager, Primark’s property director, in a news release.
The Dublin-based retailer, which is owned by Associated British Foods (ABF), opened its first U.S. store in Boston in 2015 and then seven more locations before throttling back in recent years. Primark is planning to open a store in the long-delayed American Dream mall in northern New Jersey, which is slated to open in October. It also is moving to open a store in Miami next year.
Richard Chamberlain, an analyst at RBC, told the Financial Times that Primark has the capacity to supply up to three times as many stores in the U.S. that have been built or announced.
Primark has driven its growth with low-priced fashions typically at $25 or less. While this has proven successful in the past, Neil Stern, senior partner at McMillanDoolittle, cautioned in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that Primark is still not well known in the U.S. and could also face headwinds as consumers begin to rethink “disposable fashion.”
Primark currently operates more than 370 stores in 12 countries across Europe and the U.S. In April, it opened its largest store to date, a 160,000-square-foot unit covering five floors in Birmingham, England, that features apparel for men, women and children plus a barbershop, beauty products, a beauty studio and homewares. The location also features three different dining experiences, including the first Primark Café with Disney.
- Fast-fashion brand Primark to open Chicago store on State Street – Chicago Tribune
- European retailer Primark coming to State Street – Crain’s Chicago Business
- Irish retailer grabs space on State Street – Chicago Sun-Times
- Primark targets Chicago for next stage of US expansion – Financial Times
- About Us – Primark
- Primark sets sights on conquering America – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does Primark’s relatively slow expansion make your more optimistic or cautious about its future prospects in the U.S.? Where do you see the greatest opportunities and challenges facing the fast-fashion retailer going forward?