e-comm

Primark Could Lose Billions Without an Online Store

Let this be a lesson to analog retailers.
article cover

Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

Stay up to date on the retail industry

All the news and insights retail pros need to know, all in one newsletter. Join over 180,000 retail professionals by subscribing today.

2020 was the worst year on record for UK retail sales. But the ongoing catastrophe could impact some retailers more than others.

Primark, which still doesn’t have e-commerce operations, said recent lockdowns could wipe $1.4 billion from its revenue this year. More than 75% of its stores are closed due to Covid-19—including its entire UK footprint.

What year is it again? 2021, and e-commerce has been a life raft for nearly every other business. But as Bloomberg notes, Primark hasn’t logged on for two reasons:

  1. Pricing. Primark’s shirts are affordable even for lemonade stand operators. With those margins, shipping and processing costs would make e-comm ops unthinkable.
  2. Production. The retailer orders heaps of clothing from garment factories in Asia, but those orders are placed months in advance. That keeps prices low, but it’s unfriendly to rapidly shifting online trends.

From Primark’s POV...this stubbornness isn’t a trend. When a new location opened in Paris in August, 1,000 shoppers lined up to enter despite the pandemic. Primark’s planning to open more stores across the US and Europe, regardless of whether lockdowns lift in its home market.

Stay up to date on the retail industry

All the news and insights retail pros need to know, all in one newsletter. Join over 180,000 retail professionals by subscribing today.