|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (September 2015)|
PRIMARK store in Boston, Massachusetts opened in September 2015
|Founded||June 1969 in Dublin, Ireland|
|Headquarters||Primark House, 41 West Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 1TZ, United Kingdom |
Number of locations
|302 stores (January 2016)|
|Revenue||£4,275m (FY 2012/2013)|
|£514m (FY 2012/2013)|
Number of employees
|Parent||Associated British Foods|
Primark (pronounced IPA // or IPA //; the former pronunciation is prevalent in England, the latter in Scotland and Northern Ireland) is an Irish clothing retailer operating in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland (branded as Penneys in Ireland), Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States and soon in Italy. It was founded and headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The company's international headquarters is registered in Ireland. Its UK operations are registered in England and Wales. Primark is a subsidiary of international food, ingredients and retail group Associated British Foods.
Primark was first opened by Arthur Ryan in June 1969 in Mary Street, Dublin under the name Penneys. Further expansion and success in Ireland led to the move to the United Kingdom, and, in 1971, it opened a large store in Belfast City Centre before opening four out-of-town stores in England in 1973. In October 2011, Primark opened its first concession model. Primark is now stocked in Selfridges department stores in Trafford Centre, Manchester, The Bull Ring, Birmingham and Oxford Street, London.
Primark offer a diverse range of products, stocking everything from new born and kids clothing, to womenswear, menswear, home ware, accessories, footwear, beauty products and confectionery. The company sells fashionable clothes at the low cost end of the market. 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: trendy clothes at astonishingly low prices. The result is a new and even faster kind of fast fashion, which encourages consumers to buy heaps of items, discard them after a few wears and then come back for another batch of new outfits."
Primark expanded rapidly in the UK in the mid-2000s. In 2005 they bought the Littlewoods chain for £409m, retaining 40 of the 119 stores and selling the rest. They opened in the Meadowhall Centre in mid-2007. In May 2006, the first Primark store outside Ireland and the UK opened in Madrid, Spain. In December 2008, Primark opened its first stores in the Netherlands, followed in 2009 by its first stores in Portugal, Germany and Belgium. Primark opened its first store in Austria on 27 September 2012 in Innsbruck, this was followed by another store in Vienna which opened in October 2012. The world's largest Primark store is located on Market Street, Manchester, England, occupying 155,000 sq ft (14,400 m2) of retail space across three floors.
Primark expanded to the United States in 2015 when it opened its first store in Downtown Crossing, Boston in the location that was once the flagship store of Filene's. The other American store is located at the King of Prussia Mall, the nation's second largest mall, near Philadelphia.
As of December 2015, Primark operates stores in the following countries:
|Country||Number of stores|
|Italy||opening 2016|
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, Bonmarché, Mango, Auchan and Kik. The agreement was signed by Primark, Loblaw, Bonmarche and El Corte Inglés.
In June 2014, a customer from Ireland found an SOS note in the pocket of trousers she had bought from a Primark store in Belfast several years earlier. The letter was written in Chinese and also contained a prison ID card. The letter alleged that the author was 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 few days later, Primark claimed the label, and several others found in items in a store in Swansea, were a hoax.
A year and a half later, yet another note was found in clothes from Primark. Primark has not yet publicly stated whether they believe this to be part of the same hoax or part of a new hoax altogether.
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- 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
- Zain Al-Mahmood, Syed (24 April 2013). "Matalan supplier among manufacturers in Bangladesh building collapse". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- Clare O'Connor (30 April 2013). "'Extreme Pricing' At What Cost? Retailer Joe Fresh Sends Reps To Bangladesh As Death Toll Rises". Forbes.
- Nelson, Dean (24 April 2013). "Bangladesh building collapse kills at least 82 in Dhaka". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- Alam, Julhas (24 April 2013). "At least 87 dead in Bangladesh building collapse". USA Today. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "Oxfam response to Primark's statement on compensation for people affected by the Bangladesh Savar building collapse - Oxfam International". Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- Factory Building Collapse in Bangladesh Kills 149 | Digital Wires from ENR.com | News McGraw-Hill Construction
- Ovi, Ibrahim Hossain (2013), Buyers' compensation for Rana Plaza victims far from reality, retrieved 16 December 2013
- "Primark investigates claim of 'cry for help' note in trousers". BBC News.
- "Primark claims 'cry for help labels' are a hoax carried out in the UK following investigation". The Independent.
- "Stunned Primark shopper finds disturbing note from 'Chinese torture victim' in sock". Irishmirror.ie.
Media related to Primark at Wikimedia Commons