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Primark Stores Limited
Native name
Industry Retail
Founded 13 June 1969; 49 years ago (1969-06-13) in Dublin, Ireland
Founder Arthur Ryan[n 1][1][2]
Headquarters Dublin, Ireland
Number of locations
325 (2016)
Area served
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Key people
  • Paul Marchant (CEO)
  • John Lyttle (COO)
Revenue £5,949m (2016[3])
Number of employees
Parent Associated British Foods
Footnotes / references

Primark (/ˈprˌmɑːrk/[9], known as Penneys in the Republic of Ireland), is an Irish clothing and accessories retailer. It is a subsidiary of AB Foods, and is headquartered in Dublin.[10] The company's first store was founded by Arthur Ryan on behalf of the Weston family in June 1969 on 47 Mary Street, Dublin, the store still remains operative to this day.[11][12][2]


Success in Ireland led to expansion to the United Kingdom, and the company opened a large store in Belfast City Centre in 1971 and one in Derby, England, in 1973.[13] The company could not use the name "Penneys" in Europe outside Ireland because J. C. Penney had the name registered.[14] The name "Primark" was then invented to use outside Ireland.[11]

Primark opened its current international headquarters in 2015 in a redeveloped Dublin building, Arthur Ryan House, formerly Chapel House.[8][15][16][17]


Primark offer a diverse range of products, including newborn and children's clothing, women's wear, men's wear, home ware, accessories, footwear, beauty products and confectionery. Starting in 2014, Primark welcomed Sephora products which are being sold starting at £1.[18] Primark starting selling vegan snacks as of January 2018.[19] The company sells clothes at the low cost end of the market below average prices. Along with retailers such as Zara and H&M, Primark contributes to the contemporary fast fashion trend. According to an article about Primark in The Economist, "For many shoppers, Primark has an irresistible offer: amazing trendy clothes at amazingly low prices. The result is a new and even faster kind of fast fashion, which forces consumers to buy heaps of items sometimes even the same ones to use when the first ones worn out, discard them after a few wears and then come back for another batch of new outfits."[20]


Primark store at Gran Vía in Madrid, the second biggest in the chain.
Primark in the Former Lewis's Building in Manchester city centre.

Primark owns over 350 stores.[4] The largest Primark store is located on Market Street, Manchester, England, occupying 155,000 sq ft (14,400 m2) of retail space across three floors. The company expanded rapidly in the UK in the mid-2000s. In 2005, they bought the Littlewoods retail stores for £409m, retaining 40 of the 119 stores and selling the rest.[21] In May 2006, the first Primark store outside Ireland and the United Kingdom opened in Madrid, Spain. After 10 years of constructing a chain around 40 stores in Spain, Primark opened another store in Madrid in October 2015, the second biggest in the chain.[22] In December 2008, Primark opened in the Netherlands, followed by Portugal, Germany and Belgium in 2009. Primark opened its first store in Austria on 27 September 2012 in Innsbruck. It expanded to France in 2013, in Marseille.[23] The first Italian store opened in 2014.[24] In 2015, Primark opened its first United States store in Downtown Crossing, Boston, in the location that was once the flagship store of Filene's,[25] later NYC, Philly, and Danbury,[4]

Primark operates stores in the following countries:[4]

Country Number of stores
United Kingdom United Kingdom 188
Spain Spain 45
Republic of Ireland Ireland 37
Germany Germany 26
Netherlands Netherlands 19
France France 13
Portugal Portugal 10
United States United States 9
Belgium Belgium 6
Austria Austria 5
Italy Italy 4
Total 362


Working practices[edit]

In 2006, Primark joined the Ethical Trading Initiative, a collaborative organisation bringing together businesses, trades unions and NGOs to work on labour rights issues in their supply chains.[26] ETI members commit to working towards the implementation of a code of conduct based on the International Labour Organization's core conventions.

In December 2008, the UK charity War on Want launched a new report, Fashion Victims II, that showed conditions had not improved in Bangladeshi factories supplying Primark, two years after the charity first visited them.[27]

On 9 January 2009, a supplier was forced by ETI to remove its branding from Primark stores and websites following a BBC/The Observer investigation into the employment practices. The investigation alleged use of illegal immigrant labour and argued that the workers were paid less than the UK legal minimum wage.[28]

On 16 June 2011, the BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) published its findings into a Panorama programme[29] 'Primark: On the Rack', broadcast in June 2008. The programme was an undercover investigative documentary examining poor working conditions in Indian factories supplying Primark. Although Primark subsequently stopped doing business with the Indian supplier, the ESC concluded that footage in the programme was 'more likely than not' to have been fabricated.[30] The ESC directed the BBC to make an on-air apology and to ensure that the programme was not repeated or sold to other broadcasters. Primark created a specific website to deal with the issues around the programme.[31]

In 2011 and 2012, Primark achieved ‘Leader’ status in the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).[32]

Building collapse at Savar[edit]

On 24 April 2013, the eight-story Rana Plaza commercial building collapsed in Savar, a sub-district near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. At least 1,127 people died and over 2,438 were injured.[33] The factory housed a number of separate garment factories employing around 5,000 people, several shops, and a bank,[34] and manufactured apparel for brands including the Benetton Group, Joe Fresh,[35] The Children's Place, Primark, Monsoon, and DressBarn.[36][37] Primark paid compensation and emergency aid to the victims of the collapse,[13] a move which was welcomed by Oxfam,[38] and committed to review the structural integrity of buildings making its clothes.[39]

Of the 29 brands identified as having sourced products from the Rana Plaza factories, only 9 attended meetings held in November 2013 to agree a proposal on compensation to the victims. Several companies refused to sign, including Walmart, Carrefour, Mango, Auchan and Kik. The agreement was signed by Primark, Loblaw, Bonmarché and El Corte Inglés.[40][41]

SOS Messages[edit]

In June 2014, two labels both stitched with SOS messages were separately found in Swansea purchased garments.[42] Primark argued the supply chain showed these label messages were a hoax.[43][44]

Also in June 2014, a customer from Ireland found an SOS note wrapped in a prison ID card in the pocket of trousers purchased from a Primark store several years earlier.[45][46] The letter was written in Chinese and alleged that prisoners were forced to work "like oxen" making fashion clothes for export for 15 hours per day, and the food they were given wouldn't be fit for dogs or pigs.[47]

A year and a half later an SOS note from an alleged Chinese torture victim was found in socks purchased from Primark.[48]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Micaela Mitchell is described as Arthur Ryan's founding collaborator in one instance in 2009 (See Ref "Essay Writing Service"), although repeated verbatim on Edinburgh Evening News website in 2015, and some other verbatim sites.


  1. ^ Essay writing service - Primark Case study
  2. ^ a b "Edinburgh Evening News - M&S loses bid to stop Gyle building new Primark". 
  3. ^ "Primark revenue 2007-2017 - Statista". Statista. Retrieved 2 May 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Primark - Our Stores". Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "Primark - About Us". Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  6. ^ [1], [The Journal]. Retrieved 14 April 2016
  7. ^ "Associated British Foods plc: Annual Report and Accounts 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "Snapshot: Primark Stores Limited", Bloomberg. Retrieved 11 February 2016
  9. ^ "Primark reveals how to pronounce its name". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  10. ^ "Primark Holdings". 
  11. ^ a b "A household Irish name built from humble beginnings: The Penneys story : It all began in Dublin’s fair city in 1969", The Journal (Ireland), 1 March 2015 (accessed 15 February 2016)
  12. ^ "Fashion swing is felt by Penneys' owners". Reuters. 11 July 2008. 
  13. ^ a b "Why Penneys is no longer our little secret". Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  14. ^ . 23 December 1977 Retrieved 9 December 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "Primark officially opens redeveloped Dublin HQ", RTÉ, Dublin, Ireland, Thursday 17 September 2015
  16. ^ McCabe, Sarah (29 November 2013). "Expansion plans on course for Penneys international HQ in Dublin". Irish Independent. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "About Us". Primark. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "Primark's new makeup range". Cosmopolitan. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2018. 
  19. ^ "Budget Chain Primark Starts Selling Vegan Snack Range". Retrieved 19 February 2018. 
  20. ^ "Faster, cheaper fashion". The Economist. 5 September 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  21. ^ Finch, Julia (8 August 2005). "M&S to cash in as Littlewoods disappears". The Guardian. London. 
  22. ^ O' Leary, Elizabeth (15 October 2015). "Penney's opens its second biggest store in the world in Spain". Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  23. ^ "Primark targets chic French shoppers as it opens in Marseille". 16 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  24. ^ Redazione (31 August 2014). "Primark, la catena di shopping low cost arriva in Italia". Velvet Style Italia. 
  25. ^ "Primark to open in the United States". 23 April 2014. 
  26. ^ "Primark joins Ethical Trading Initiative - Press Release - ETI". Archived from the original on 8 October 2007. 
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 March 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  28. ^ McDougall, Dan (11 January 2009). "Primark in storm over conditions at UK supplier". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ Burrell, Ian; Hickman, Martin (16 June 2011). "BBC crisis over 'fake' sweatshop scene in Primark documentary". The Independent. London. 
  31. ^ "Primark Panorama - Primark's response to the BBC's apology". Archived from the original on 18 June 2011. 
  32. ^ "Associated British Foods plc - Responsibility - Responsibility in action - Primark Ethical Trade Team". Archived from the original on 2 May 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  33. ^ Ahmed, Saeed; Lakhani, Leone (14 June 2013), "Bangladesh building collapse: An end to recovery efforts, a promise of a new start", CNN, retrieved 16 December 2013 
  34. ^ Zain Al-Mahmood, Syed (24 April 2013). "Matalan supplier among manufacturers in Bangladesh building collapse". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  35. ^ Clare O'Connor (30 April 2013). "'Extreme Pricing' At What Cost? Retailer Joe Fresh Sends Reps To Bangladesh As Death Toll Rises". Forbes. 
  36. ^ Nelson, Dean (24 April 2013). "Bangladesh building collapse kills at least 82 in Dhaka". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  37. ^ Alam, Julhas (24 April 2013). "At least 87 dead in Bangladesh building collapse". USA Today. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  38. ^ "Oxfam response to Primark's statement on compensation for people affected by the Bangladesh Savar building collapse - Oxfam International". Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  39. ^ "Engineering News-Record - ENR". 
  40. ^ Ovi, Ibrahim Hossain (2013), Buyers' compensation for Rana Plaza victims far from reality, archived from the original on 25 March 2016, retrieved 16 December 2013 
  41. ^ "Full text". Rana Plaza Arrangement. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  42. ^ "Concerned shoppers speak out as Primark investigates 'sweatshop' labels". South Wales Evening Post. 
  43. ^ "Primark claims 'cry for help labels' are a hoax carried out in the UK following investigation". The Independent. 
  44. ^ "Primark insists labels sewn into its clothes with claims of 'sweatshop conditions' and 'exhausting hours' are hoaxes". The Daily Mail. 
  45. ^ "Primark investigates claim of 'cry for help' note in trousers". BBC News. 
  46. ^ "'The food we eat wouldn't even be given to dogs or pigs': Third Primark SOS note found". London Metro. 
  47. ^ "'Cry for help' from prisoner in Chinese forced labour jail alleged to have been found inside Primark trousers". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 9 July 2016. 
  48. ^ "Stunned Primark shopper finds disturbing note from 'Chinese torture victim' in sock". 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Primark at Wikimedia Commons