Primark has stolen Zara’s clothing crown in Spain, according to finance boss John Bason, as the value fashion retailer expands in Europe.
Bason, who is finance director at Primark parent Associated British Foods, said that its sales growth in Spain, where like-for-likes surged 10% in the third quarter, was his personal highlight over the period.
“We’re still growing and gaining share. By volume, by brand, we’re the biggest clothing retailer in Spain,” he said.
This would include Spanish fashion giant Inditex’s brands, which include Zara, Pull & Bear and Bershka. Primark first started taking on Zara on its own turf in 2007 and now has 40 stores in the country.
Primark has also launched five stores in France, which Bason said would be a “strong market” for the value fashion chain. He said it had signed for further stores in the country.
Plans for Primark to launch its first US store in Boston next year are “progressing well” and Bason revealed it is in negotiations to take further stores.
The value retailer is planning further growth in the UK and is eyeing larger stores, such as the 150,000 sq ft store it is plotting in the Pavilions in Birmingham, the shopping centre that it acquired this week, as tipped by Retail-Week.com in October.
Bason said: “The UK market is far from saturated. We’re looking for city centres where we’ve got smaller stores. Birmingham is one of those areas, where our exisiting store is 45,000 sq ft.”
Primark will sub-let some space in the Pavilions to other retailers but Bason said it was not planning to become a landlord. “This is the exception, not the rule,” he said.
Primark posted a 22% sales surge in its third quarter to June 21, driven by new stores and like-for-like growth.
Bason said that the improving economic conditions had given sales a fillip. “The UK consumer was in a much better place. There’s more people coming through the doors and they’re buying more stuff,” he said.