Primark shares new store plans for 2024

Retail Leader spoke with Primark's Kevin Tulip about the international fashion retailer's U.S. expansion plans, store formats and experience in the U.S., and how its well positioned as a value-driven retailer.
Elizabeth Christenson
Editor, Retail Leader
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Kevin Tulip

International fashion retailer Primark first entered the U.S. market exactly 8 years ago this week with its first store opening in Boston. Primark now has a total of 21 U.S. stores, opening its first store in Maryland this month following three other new locations opening in New York and New Jersey this summer. This month, Primark also announced its 22nd store is set to open in Chicagoland in October.

Not deviating much from its origins, Primark started in Ireland with a fairly straightforward vision to bring affordable fashion to consumers in the country. Primark’s international headquarters sits above its first store located on Mary St. in Dublin, but its reach has grown to 16 countries, including in Europe and the U.S., with plans to expand to the Hungary market soon.

“We live through affordable fashion for everyone,” Kevin Tulip, Primark’s President U.S., told Retail Leader Trend Talk. “‘Amazing fashion, amazing prices’ is our tagline, and that's what we've been doing since 1969.”

Primark currently operates 432 stores globally. At the beginning of the year, Primark announced ambitious plans to open 530 stores internationally in the next three years. In the U.S., Primark plans to expand to 60 stores by the end of 2026

Originally, Primark opened 10 stores in the Northeast to test its business model, Tulip said. Since 2015, the retailer has gradually been expanding with more stores in more geographical areas. This year, Primark has already opened five stores with another three stores set to open by the end of year.

Primark in Arundel Mills (Hanaover, Maryland)
Primark in Arundel Mills, Hanover, Maryland, opened September 7.

Next year, Primark plans to debut new stores in new markets, Tulip said. The retailer will open its first store around Detroit, its second store in Florida in Orlando, and another store in Virginia near Washington, D.C. Additionally, Primark will open up its first store in Texas. Primark also plans to open its second distribution center in Jacksonville, Florida, to help service its stores in the South. 

As part of that growth, in September, Primark also announced Damien O’Neill would step into the newly created role of U.S. retail vice president, and Primark expects to continue to add U.S. personal as it grows.

Retail in the U.S.

As far as the similarities and differences between retailing in the U.S. versus international market, Primark has some products that perform incredibly well in Europe and the U.S., inducing everyday essentials, ladies' denim, and men's and kids’ t-shirts. In the U.S., Primark’s licensed products with Netflix, Disney, the National Basketball Association and the National Football League perform exceptionally well, particularly in its Florida store, Tulip said. In the last few years, Primark’s children’s wear also has grown significantly in the U.S. along with luggage, he said.

Primark's Disney merchandise at Arundel Mills
Primark’s licensed products, including with Disney, perform well in the U.S. market.

In the U.S., Primark stores are typically 35,000 square feet and located in malls whereas in Europe stores are primarily located in city centers. For example, Primark stores are now located in three Mills malls — Sawgrass Mills (Sunrise, Florida), The Mills at Jersey Gardens (Elizabeth, New Jersey) and Arundel Mills (Hanover, Maryland) — and in November will be in Concord Mills in Concord, North Carolina. Moving forward, Primark plans to test and learn from each new store it opens to aid its roadmap and strategy based on the results it receives.

“We can see that there is certainly an appetite in some of those outlet malls where the Primark brand is working incredibly well,” Tulip said. “And we’ve got three downtown locations — Chicago, Boston and Phily — and again we can see some great results coming from those. And what has been interesting really is our store in Jamaica Avenue in Queens, where we've really got not quite downtown, definitely not a mall, but actually, a real community store. The community that's shopping with us there have different behaviors in terms of shopping habits different from a mall and different from a downtown location.”

As a brick-and-mortar retailer who puts a lot of energy into its in-store experience, Primark also finds itself well-positioned with its value proposition. 

“We've seen our customers absolutely prioritizing value,” Tulip said. “We've definitely seen that in recent results for everybody. At Primark, we obsess about that price point and about offering fashion and value to our customers. And our position here in the U.S. is unique for us. Everything from ladies’ to men's to kids’ fashion for the quality that we offer, for the durability and for our price is just something that we're uniquely set up for. At the minute, there's ever been such an important time for Primark to be growing in the U.S. with so many families relying on that value for things like back to school.” 

Hear more about Primark’s back-to-school experience along with its fast-moving Barbie movie products in collaboration with Mattel, unique website, Primania and predictions for this holiday season, by listening to Retail Leader’s full interview with Tulip. Subscribe to "Trend Talk" wherever you listen to podcasts.