Primark opens first Czech Republic store in Prague
Fourteen international markets and counting. Anglo-Irish retailer Primark has opened its first Czech Republic store as the value fashion and lifestyle retailer continues to expand its footprint across Central and Eastern Europe.
The latest store, in Prague’s Wenceslas Square, joins stores in Warsaw and Poznan in Poland and Ljubljana in Slovenia. Further leases have also been signed for Primark’s first store in Slovakia and further Polish units in Krakow and Katowice. A second store in the Czech Republic is earmarked to open in Brno next year.
The Prague store spans 49,800 square feet across three floors, employing more than 300 people. The store offers a range of fashion, homeware, kidswear and beauty, with its size demanding 56 fitting rooms and 35 payment desks.
Primark chief executive Paul Marchant said: “This is another important market for us as we continue our expansion into Central and Eastern Europe and build our pipeline of new stores across the region".
Primark, which doesn’t have a e-commerce operation, had a particularly tough trading record throughout the pandemic-induced lockdowns. Although its parent company's CEO George Weston said most stores were closed for more than half of its trading year to April 2021, he added that “Primark sales after store reopenings demonstrate the relevance and appeal of our value-for-money offering”.
In the past year, Primark lost £3 billion+ worth of sales and £1 billion+ of profit. It has also seen “huge cash outflows with a £650 million outflow in the first half of this year alone”. That meant over a six-month period, Primark saw revenue fall 40% to £2.232 billion from a year earlier. Adjusted operating profit also plummeted 90% to just £43 million.
But growth of its international store network, which now numbers 396 units, is key to Its financial rebound. Apart from expanding in Central and Eastern Europe, the retailer sees further opportunities to grow in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, “where the Primark brand resonates strongly with consumers”.
It also has plans to accelerate growth in the US over the next five years with Tysons Corner, just outside Washington DC, the next scheduled opening.
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