Primark store in Boston, Massachusetts opened in September 2015
|Subsidiary of Associated British Foods|
|Founded||June 1969 in Dublin, Ireland|
|Headquarters||45-47 Mary Street, Dublin 1, D01 NX45, Ireland |
Number of locations
|325 stores |
|Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States|
|Paul Marchant, CEO
John Lyttle, COO
Steve Lawton, Trading Director
Jose Luis Martinez De Larramendi, Head of Spain and Portugal Division
Julian Kilmartin, Buying and Merchandising Director 
|Revenue||£5,347m (FY 2015)|
|£673m (FY 2015)|
Number of employees
|Parent||Associated British Foods|
Primark (branded as Penneys in Ireland) is an international clothing retailer based in Dublin, Ireland. It is a subsidiary of the international food, ingredients and retail group Associated British Foods, which is majority owned by Wittington Investments, which in turn is majority owned by the Garfield Weston Foundation.
The company's first store was opened by Arthur Ryan on behalf of the Weston family in June 1969 in Mary Street, Dublin, under the name Penneys. 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. The company could not use the name "Penneys" in Europe outside Ireland because J. C. Penney had the name registered. The name "Primark" was then invented to use outside Ireland.
In October 2011, Primark opened its first concession model: Primark is now stocked in Selfridges department stores in Trafford Centre, Manchester, in The Bull Ring, Birmingham, and in Oxford Street, London. Like Primark, Selfridges is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods.
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. 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."
Primark have created a cosmetics line called "PS Pro" which has been praised by many beauty bloggers for its high quality and low price. 
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.
In December 2008, Primark opened in the Netherlands, followed in 2009 by Portugal, Germany and Belgium. Primark opened its first store in Austria on 27 September 2012 in Innsbruck. It expanded to France in 2013, in Marseilles. The first Italian store opened in 2014. Primark opened its first store in the United States in 2015 in Downtown Crossing, Boston, in the location that was once the flagship store of Filene's.
Primark operates stores in the following countries:
|Country||Number of stores|
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. ETI members commit to working towards the implementation of a code of conduct based on the International Labour Organisation'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.
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.
On 16 June 2011, the BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) published its findings into a Panorama programme '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. 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.
Building collapse at Savar
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. The factory housed a number of separate garment factories employing around 5,000 people, several shops, and a bank, and manufactured apparel for brands including the Benetton Group, Joe Fresh, The Children's Place, Primark, Monsoon, and DressBarn. Primark paid compensation and emergency aid to the victims of the collapse, a move which was welcomed by Oxfam, and committed to review the structural integrity of buildings making its clothes.
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.
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. 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.
A year and a half later an SOS note from an alleged Chinese torture victim was found in socks purchased from Primark.
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- "Concerned shoppers speak out as Primark investigates 'sweatshop' labels". South Wales Evening Post.
- "Primark claims 'cry for help labels' are a hoax carried out in the UK following investigation". The Independent.
- "Primark insists labels sewn into its clothes with claims of 'sweatshop conditions' and 'exhausting hours' are hoaxes". The Daily Mail.
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- "'The food we eat wouldn't even be given to dogs or pigs': Third Primark SOS note found". London Metro.
- "'Cry for help' from prisoner in Chinese forced labour jail alleged to have been found inside Primark trousers". Amnesty International.
- "Stunned Primark shopper finds disturbing note from 'Chinese torture victim' in sock". Irishmirror.ie.
Media related to Primark at Wikimedia Commons