LONDON — Fashion and lifestyle retailer Primark has opened its largest retail outlet in Birmingham, a five-floor store that spans 161,000 square feet.
The store will be staffed by more than 1,000 people, including 500 in new jobs, and is aiming to provide Birmingham citizens with an immersive retail experience and affordable fashion and lifestyle products.
Located at the heart of Birmingham, the new store comes with a Disney-themed café, a barbershop by Joe Mills and a Duck & Dry Xpress beauty studio. There are water fountains, digital charging points, recycling areas and a Hogwarts Wizarding World section.
Yulia Rorstrom, founder of Duck & Dry, said the newly launched Xpress will offer prices ranging from 4 pounds for eyebrow threading, to 10 pounds for a manicure, and 13 pounds for a blow-dry.
Elsewhere, shoppers can create personalized T-shirts and other clothing in the custom lab, or dine at The Mezz restaurant, which will serve healthy, dairy-free foods and a vegetarian breakfast.
Tim Kelly, Primark’s director of new business development, said: “Our customers can spend time with friends and family, eat great food, recharge and have fun, and find everything under one roof including fashion, beauty, home wear, all at an amazing price.”
Simon Gibbs, Primark’s retail director for the U.K. and Northern Europe at Primark said the opening of Birmingham High Street “gives us the opportunity to bring our flagship product range and the very best of Primark to our customers in this vibrant and diverse city, which is something we have wanted to do for many years.”
Andrew Hughes, an analyst at UBS, said the store represents an investment of more than 50 million pounds in physical retailing in the U.K., “in the week when the second largest department store chain (Debenhams) moved into administration. This is a statement by (Associated British Foods, Primark’s parent) that strong, well-capitalized brands can still see growth opportunities.”
According to Royal Bank of Canada, which tracks the ABF stock, the previous Birmingham store spanned 42,000 square feet. The new store has 86 tills versus 46 in the old store and three times as many changing rooms.
“The store is well located between two railway stations and incorporates several new concepts, such as an enhanced beauty and licensed brands offer, and cafés to increase dwell time and improve the customer experience. The store looks impressive and the shop fit cost appears reasonable,” RBC wrote in a report Thursday.
The bank said Primark “remains one of the stronger apparel retailers around, with several competitive advantages (such as) compelling price points, a structurally low gross margin, and strong management including at store level, who have a relatively high degree of autonomy over product range.”
According to the BBC, about 5,000 people are expected to visit the store at the former Pavilions Shopping Centre on Thursday, the opening day. Primark currently has 365 stores worldwide.