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Primark won’t evolve into ecommerce business, boss says


Primark “is and always has been a high street retailer” and will not be transitioning into a home delivery ecommerce business, according to George Weston, chief executive of the chain’s owner, Associated British Foods.

Weston told the Financial Times that despite the closure of physical stores during the pandemic costing the business £100m of cash each week, this has not persuaded the fashion giant to switch to online shopping.

“At our price points and our basket sizes [online] doesn’t just take some of the margin, it takes all of it,” he said.

In the run up to Christmas however, Primark did introduce its first click and collect service. Launched in a limited number of stores across the North West of England, Yorkshire and North Wales, the new service allows customers to shop online from a range of kids’ products across clothing and nursery, before collecting in their nominated store on their chosen day.

At the time of launching, Paul Marchant, Primark chief executive, said: “This trial showcases the very best that Primark has to offer across kidswear, combining much more choice, great style and incredible value.

“We’re big fans of the high street and we believe passionately that a thriving local shopping area benefits everyone in the community. Our approach to online is all about supporting and complementing our stores, which will always be at the heart of our business.

“The trial offers the convenience of browsing and shopping from the comfort of your home, while also providing customers living near one of our smaller stores, like Wallasey, as big a range as on offer in a much larger store like Liverpool. Everyone, no matter their local store, will get access to lots of exclusive new products.”

The service was so popular when it was introduced in December it crashed the site. The fashion retailer has admitted click and collect trials could be extended but sees it as a “top-up” offering. Primark hopes those collecting will shop in stores too, as customers pick up another £1 pack of bangles or a 90p hair brush along with their order.

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