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Market Commentary

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 28 February, 2018

Primark delivers offline growth

Primark has demonstrated once again that it does not need a transactional website to outperform the UK clothing market, with UK LFL sales up 4% for the 24 weeks ending 3 March. Despite slightly weaker performance in its international operations, Primark continues to buck the trend of clothing and footwear sales growth taking place solely online. It is achieving this ‘offline growth’ by attracting market share from competitors, including New Look and H&M, partly through a better product range, and also by capitalising on the general trend for ‘trading down’ amongst UK shoppers.

At a time when most major fashion retailers are reviewing and rationalising their physical portfolios, Primark also continues to open stores, albeit at a slower pace than in recent years. By focussing on high footfall destinations within major cities and shopping centres, Primark is able to drive growth in visitor numbers into its stores, despite generally declining footfall across the UK retail market.

One of Primark’s new store locations is reported to be in the new Axiom development in West Yorkshire. Axiom is the largest out-of-town retail development to be granted planning in the UK since Bluewater. Developers Lateral Property Group and Highgrove have a unique opportunity to create a regional destination that will deliver a multi-generational retail and leisure experience. As Tim Vallance, Head of UK Retail, comments, “If Axiom can achieve the stunning design produced in the developer’s CGIs, Yorkshire could be the first county in the UK to have a truly stunning, high-design retail destination more akin to the futuristic schemes we see in Asia.”

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