Primark is finally over the pandemic and is back on a growth trajectory. With life getting more expensive, the chain has every confidence in its discount concept. So much so that it is starting an e-commerce trial.
Good times for discount
Primark has had a strong quarter, with sales rising 81 % to 1.7 billion pounds (2 billion euros) in the three months up to May. This excellent growth is due to the low basis of comparison a year earlier, when many shops were still closed due to a new wave of the Covid pandemic. As the fashion discounter does not (yet) engage in e-commerce, this meant a complete stop in sales.
Compared to pre-pandemic 2019, Primark recorded a 4 % growth last quarter. The clothing retailer has therefore finally been able to put the consequences of the pandemic behind it and is stronger today than before Covid. The chain is benefiting from the fact that people are going out again, to travel, to work or simply for some leisure. The chain is selling 50 % more suitcases today than it did in 2019, The Guardian reports, and it is also seeing a huge uptake in the sales of beach towels and bathing suits.
Parent company AB Foods must be secretly gloating a little over the rising cost of living and decreasing purchasing power. “I would be amazed if we don’t get more people coming to Primark than we would’ve done before”, finance director John Bason said. Nevertheless, the discounter has also been forced to raise its prices and there may be another price increase in February. The fashion brand is also keeping a close eye on the lockdowns in production country China.
Testing first online range
Still, optimism is sky-high at Primark, even so much so that the chain is venturing into e-commerce for the first time. It was already known that the chain would start experimenting with click&collect, but now more details have become clear. By the end of this year, British consumers will be able to choose from an online range of 2,000 items for children, from clothing to accessories and home decoration. A large proportion of the products will be available exclusively online.
Customers will be able to collect and try on items ordered online from around 25 Primark shops in the North-West of England. AB Foods argues that this will help it to attract more families with children and people who are not already customers into its shops. Online sales also provide an opportunity to expand the children’s range. If it proves successful, the trial can be extended to other product groups and regions.