The discount fashion retailer shows that success is posited as much upon store environment as it is upon the offer on display.

The discount fashion retailer shows that success is posited as much upon store environment as it is upon the offer on display.

Associated British Foods has just announced that Primark’s “adjusted operating profit for the second half will be ahead of expectations” thanks to strong summer sales. In a way this should come as little surprise. Stand at any of the exits from the tube on London’s Tottenham Court Road and watch where a fair percentage of those emerging are headed. On any day of the week, a totally unscientific view would be that many appear to be on mission to shop Primark.

It’s the same at the other end of Oxford Street where the former Allders store (and before that C&A) has had shoppers storming its doors since it opened in 2008. What is interesting is the way in which Primark keeps raising its game, keeping a jump or two ahead of the majority of its competitors, at least as far as store environments are concerned.

The Marble Arch store has been changed pretty consistently during its half-decade long lifespan and it has now entered the digital entertainment age with the addition of large screens showing fashion-led content. This has meant that the pair of stores on Oxford Street both show the way as far as fashion environments are concerned and head further along the Central Line and it’s the same story in Westfield Stratford.

The Tottenham Court Road store in fact has a huge screen that serves little purpose other than to entertain and to make the in-store landscape relevant to the expectations of today’s shoppers.

This is not new. Burberry too has a large screen in its Regent Street flagship, but there was a time when you might not have expected a retailer whose essential proposition is the provision of low-cost fashion to have sported this kind of thing. Primark is different and that difference continues to be rewarded by the consumer horde, in this country and overseas – most notably, of late, in Germany.

A few years ago, if somebody had said that you could do worse than go and look at a discount fashion operation for ideas on how to deal with the interior of a store, the reception might not have been favourable. Primark shows how the retail landscape continues to evolve and is doing well because it is leading the way among its competitor set and beyond.