Primark picking up pace of U.S. expansion after being slowed by the pandemic
Fast-fashion retailer Primark announced last week that it will open its newest store in the U.S. in Philadelphia’s Fashion District on Sept 16.
The 34,200-square-foot location, which will employ up to 350 people, will be the third Primark in Pennsylvania and its twelfth in the U.S. Another location in Tyson, VA is planned and the retailer has also confirmed a future store location in Valley Stream, NY. The Philly store will be supplied through the chain’s distribution in Bethlehem, PA.
Andy Stewart, president of Primark U.S., said the new store in Philadelphia “will mark another important milestone in our ongoing expansion in the U.S.” The retailer’s model of selling low-price fashion, beauty, confectionery and home goods has fueled growth to nearly 400 locations in 14 countries.
The chain, a division of Associated British Foods, was forced to slow its store expansion plans as much of the U.S. went into pandemic lockdown mode last year. The retailer, which opened its first American store in 2015 in Boston, does not sell online in the U.S. and its business took a major hit as consumers stayed home.
Business has picked up in recent months with consumers feeling more confident about shopping in public tied to high vaccination rates in the predominantly East Coast markets where the chain has located most of its stores. It also operates a store in Chicago.
Primark reported an increase of 207 percent in revenues for its quarter ending June 19, a three percent improvement over what it did during the same period in 2019. The retailer subsequently increased its forecast of the full year, expecting continued growth through the end of the calendar year. The retailer, which saw inventory go up as lockdowns went into effect last year, has been reducing what it keeps on hand and expects to return to normal levels by the end of 2021.
Some have questioned if Primark’s fast-fashion business model is sustainable in the U.S. due to environmental concerns around clothing viewed as disposable as well as heavy competition from discounters and growing demand for resale items.
- Trading Update – Associated British Foods plc
- Primark opening at Fashion District Philadelphia this month – PhillyVoice
- Irish retailer Primark will open in Philly’s Fashion District on Sept. 16 – The Philadelphia Inquirer
- Is Primark ready to bust out in the USA? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think about Primark’s fast-fashion business model and its chances for success in the U.S.? Do you see its store expansion strategy as prudent, too cautious or risky?