Value fashion giant Primark has vowed not to increase prices, despite an inflationary environment, and is to axe 400 jobs.

Primark fascia

Primark does not plan to increase its prices

Primark parent ABF’s finance director John Bason told Retail Week it was clear a “cost squeeze” would affect consumers but said: “What we are clear about is that Primark’s prices are not changing.” 

His comments will be seen as throwing down the gauntlet to clothing competitors, some of whom have signalled price rises. 

Next, for instance, has flagged a likely 3.7% increase in spring/summer like-for-like selling prices – the bulk of which will affect home categories – while Superdry anticipates increasing some prices by 2%.

Inflation is being driven by higher costs for retailers in areas such as labour and supply chain while surging energy bills will hit consumers.

Primark separately revealed that it will cut hundreds of jobs at UK stores to simplify operations. The retailer aims to rationalise a store management structure that was inconsistent across its UK estate by creating a new entry-level team manager role and abandoning that of supervisor.

Team managers will be paid more but around 400 people will lose their jobs. Primark employs 29,000 across its UK estate.

Primark UK retail director Kari Rodgers said: “The changes we’re proposing will deliver a simplified and more consistent management structure across all of our stores, provide more opportunities for career progression and offer greater flexibility – all of which are designed to help us provide the best possible experience for both our customers and our colleagues. 

“We are now focused on supporting our colleagues who are affected by these proposed changes and will be going through the consultation process.”

Additionally, Primark, which does not sell online, is to ramp up its digital capabilities by launching a new customer website that will show product availability by store.

It is expected to go live in the UK by the end of March. Bason said the site would complement stores and maintained: “This is a major step forward. Rather than a step towards somewhere else [ie: transacting online], it’s an opportunity in its own right.”

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