Primark gears up to reopen after nearly two months of forced closure

May 20, 2020, 10:21 AM GMT+0

Budget fast-fashion retailer Primark has been one of the biggest players of the high street since rapidly expanding in the UK during the mid-noughties. According to YouGov Ratings data, Primark is sixth most popular fashion and clothing brand among Britons, while YouGov Profiles data shows two thirds of all Brits would consider purchasing clothes from Primark in the future (63%).

Previously in this column I have discussed how Primark has achieved uplifts in sales despite having no online presence, instead choosing to offer customers a brick and mortar experience. Unfortunately this structure has been less than ideal in current circumstances – Primark has seen zero revenue during the coronavirus lockdown, with all 189 UK stores forced to close.

YouGov’s consumer insight data reflects these problems; since the start of lockdown Primark’s Buzz scores (a net measure of whether consumers have heard anything positive or negative about the brand in the last fortnight) have decreased by 7.4 points.

Unsurprisingly, Primark’s current customer scores (whether someone has purchased from the brand in the last three months) also steadily decreased by 10.6 points between the 23rd March and 17th May, while Consideration scores (whether someone would consider purchasing from the brand in future) fell 3.8 points in the month following.

This inability to trade at all has indirectly led to Primark’s Value score (a net measure of whether consumers think the brand represents good or poor value for money) decreasing 3.4 points during April – a measure on which Primark has always scored highly, and is a main attraction for customers.

YouGov data from the 22nd April revealed that, while stores might be keen to reopen, the public are split on whether they would feel safe returning back into shops - 46% of Britons would feel uncomfortable visiting clothing stores once lockdown restrictions are loosened, while 48% would feel comfortable.

However, Primark has since reopened five of its Austrian stores and 20 stores in the Netherlands, offering clues as to how customers might react in the UK. Consideration of Primark among British shoppers has increased 2.1 points since the end of April while consideration among current and former customers has also increased by 2.7 points, suggesting consumers might contemplate shopping again soon.

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