Irish fashion chain Primark has opened its first French store in Marseille, which immediately attracted a huge crowd of fans and inquisitive people. Some competitors have acknowledged the new danger and opened larger stores themselves.
7,500 sqm in Grand Littoral shopping centre
Primark opened its 7,500 sqm shop in the renovated Azur wing of the Grand Littoral shopping centre in Marseille. Not only the size of the store pops out, but also its location within the shopping centre, bordering the Plazza Grandlitt’ho - the beating heart of the French shopping centre.
Its Dutch real estate manager Corio is investing 27 million euro in Marseille to place its “Favourite Meeting Places” concept on 15,000 m², in which major international chains like Starbucks and Burger King definitely will be present.
Competitors strike back
Primark’s direct competitors that were already active in Marseille, are not planning on moving over for the Irish chain. Zara has nearly doubled its Grand Littoral store (from 1,200 to 2,200 sqm), while H&M has expanded to 2,350 m², a record for the Swedish chain.
French-based Business Immo, a real estate site, believes Zara's 'sibling' Bershka is in talks to expand from 600 to 1,000 sqm, and Spanish Mango is also eying a 1,000 sqm former cafetaria.
Marseille’s Primark is number 269 in Europe and the first of six in France. The Irish chain has added 93,000 sqm of stores this year alone, crossing the 800,000 sqm store area and 5 billion euro turnover milestones at almost the same time.
(Translated by Gary Peeters)