Analysis: Can Primark afford not to sell online?

Primark London closed coronavirus

Primark parent company ABF’s financial director John Bason told Retail Week this week that going online was still “not a priority” and Primark would be as relevant as ever to shoppers through its reopened bricks-and-mortar stores.

Although online retail has grown, especially among young fashion shoppers, Bason pointed out that Primark ranked in a YouGov poll of millennial consumers’ top 10 brands and its market share growth over a long period showed the strength of its offer. He does not expect that to change as a result of not selling online. “Our relevance is that we’ve got the best prices around,” he maintains.

During the UK lockdown, the retailer promised to “come back with a bang” and when it reopens its doors on June 15 that pledge that will be fulfilled when it reopens all of its branches and a new store in Manchester’s Trafford Centre.

Even so, and while Primark has been active on social channels to engage consumers, is it a mistake for the retailer not to take the plunge and join its competitors online?

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