By  on April 6, 2007

LONDON — It was a case of Primark pandemonium on Oxford Street here Thursday.

Die-hard discount shoppers started lining up in the early morning hours for the cheap-and-chic chain's debut in the city's center.

Some minor injuries were reported in the rush that occurred when security staff opened the doors of the 70,000-square-foot store, which quickly reached capacity with 3,000 shoppers. Primark, famed for its cheap, on-trend fashion items, is situated opposite style-setter Selfridges.

Shoppers snapped up linen beige frock coats for 15 pounds, or $29 at current exchange, and cashmere cardigans for 30 pounds, or $59.

Occupying two floors, the store offers a full complement of women's, men's and children's wear, including organic T-shirts and accessories.

"We've been looking at sites on Oxford Street for a while and decided it was time to pitch our tent here," said Primark director Breege O'Donoghue, adding the property, formerly occupied by U.K. retailer Alders, had been acquired on a leased basis, but declined to give further details.

"I think people are attracted to Primark because it offers value for money," O'Donoghue said. "They get a fashion item of a great quality for the best price on the high street. There's something new every week, too."

Some items were running low by the afternoon, but deliveries were scheduled for the store throughout the night to meet Easter weekend demand.

Primark is owned by Associated British Foods, parent of tony department store Fortnum & Mason. George Weston, the chief executive officer of ABF, is the nephew of Selfridges owner Galen Weston. Primark has 160 doors across the U.K. and Ireland, where it is known as Penneys.

The chain expanded its European horizons with two openings in Spain last year. O'Donoghue said there are plans to introduce another three outlets there this year.

Although Primark's neighbors on Oxford Street, including Gap and New Look, have bolstered their fashion profiles through designer collaborations, O'Donoghue said she has no such plans.

"People ask me if we will do that, and I say, 'All our customers are celebrities,'" she said. "[The business model] works and we're sticking to it."

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