Primark makes quiet US debut


The turnout for the opening of the Irish retailer’s first shop in the US may not have equalled expectations, but executives are optimistic that Americans will soon catch on to Primark’s appeal.

In opening its flagship Boston shop, Irish discount retailer Primark actually set up row upon row of crowd control barriers. It was meant to prepare against a possible stampede of shoppers. But as it turned out, the barriers weren’t needed.

Years of planning

The shop spent years planning the opening of their first US branch. But people just didn’t turn up. About an hour and a half before opening, there were only about 11 people lined up outside.

It was a far cry from what happened when the shop opened a branch in London in 2007 when around 3,000 people overwhelmed the 50 security guards on duty. The result was a stampede that left two staff members with injuries that were serious enough to warrant medical treatment.

Executives of the retailer are banking on their “amazing prices” to turn things around on American soil. The fact that their items are so much cheaper than what people would get elsewhere have repeatedly been drilled into the 590 staff that was hired to run the Boston branch.

Opening more stores in the US

Primark plans on opening 8 to 10 US shops. Paul Gassner, who’ll manage the branch in downtown Boston plus 3 others, stresses how cheap their prices are. Skinny jeans are available for $7 (£4.50), shoes for $9, and suitcases are from $30 to $50.

Gassner is perhaps most excited about the banks of 84 fitting rooms that even come with sofas for friends to chat while weighing up potential purchases. There are even a phone-charging area and chill-out zone where ESPN is streamed live starting at 8 AM. One other sign that he has really bought into the brand is the fact that he even models their Cedar Woods suits, available for $70. He insists that they “feel great”.

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Primark makes quiet US debut

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