Whilst on holidays in the UK this year it is hard not to get caught up in the fast paced retail shopping of Oxford street and to admire the efficiency of the high street operators.
The 82,000 sq ft Primark Store on Oxford street is a testament to efficient retailing. The store is the fifth largest Primark in the UK (seventh in the company), employees 1,443 team members, has 111 cash desks and 92 fitting rooms.
Over the next few weeks I am hoping to explore the UK shopping environment in detail and better understand how these dynamic fast paced retailers keep their team members and customers safe. Health and Safety legislation between the UK and Australia is not all that different, with Australia’s first OHS Legislation based off the Roben’s model of legislation adopted in the UK. It will be interesting to see how safety standards / implementation compare.
To start this series of blog posts, some background on the retailer that has me in awe, Primark.
The Primark story has been one of continuing success founded on a unique combination of fast fashion and lean operations since their first store opened in June 1969 (as Penneys in Mary Street, Dublin).
By 1973 the number of stores had reached 18 in Ireland and ‘Primark’ began trading in Great Britain with four out of town stores. Over the next 20 years Primark continued to steadily expand, in 1995 Primark had a milestone year after acquiring BHS One-Up discount chain, adding 16 stores to the UK business, a further 11 stores were acquired in 1999 from the Co-op. By the year 2000 Primark had 108 stores, 75 in the UK and 33 in Ireland.
Acquisition and expansion continued with 14 new stores opening between 2004-2005, six stores were acquired from Allders. In July 2005 ‘Littlewoods’ was acquired transferring 41 stores to Primark.
May 2006 saw Primark’s entrance into Spain, 2008 to the Netherlands, 2009 to Germany and in 2009 to Germany. As at the 12th of August 2013 Primark had 256 stores across Ireland, Spain, UK, The Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, Belgium and Austria.
Primark is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods PLC, a multinational food processing company. It’s ingredients division is the worlds second largest producer of both sugar and baker’s yeast. Its grocery division is a major manufacturer of both branded and private label grocery products including brands such as Mazola, Ovaltine, Ryvita and Twinings.