I was in one of my favourite UK stores the other day (standing in a return queue for 45 minutes mind you) but as usual I was amazed by the pure number of people wandering around this store (not to mention the hundreds of people in front of me in the queue). The store is called Primark and is essentially the cheapest clothing store I have ever seen that sells fairly trendy clothes and knock offs of high street fashion from places like Top Shop.
It seems Primark has been around for ages but in the past 2 years it has really become a much trendier more sought after place (think Biway if it ever got trendy) and new stores are popping up everywhere…like the massive department store sized one near Marble Arch that essentially cause a riot when it opened. The store is predominantly aimed at the 18-35 market but certainly draws a crowd much older and younger than that. There always massive queues to pay, try on clothes and return items but everyone tolerates it as they know that for around£20 you can end up with a few tops, a shirt, shoes and a necklace. Its the perfect cure when you are craving a little retail therapy.
The clothing quality is definitely lower than that of other stores but but for the prices you basically wear it a few times until it rips or disintegrates right on your body but you can’t really be too mad as for £4 you certainly got your money’s worth. They carry women’s, men’s and children clothing, bags, shoes, accessories, pyjamas, lingerie, sheets, towels and other housewares….all at prices you just can’t match anywhere else.
The other thing which I am still not sure how they get away with is how closely they mimic brand name fashion. I purchased a wrap jumper (sweater) and a cardigan from a TOP shop in London and found almost identical ones in Primark for £8, and actually the quality wasn’t much different as the the ones from this TOP shop as one has already gone bally and looks a bit scruffy and I certainly paid more than £8 for it.
You do have to go to Primark on a day where you can handle being walked in to, hit with large bags/baskets/handbags and are willing to fight for the last pair of shoes/top/skirt in your size then retreating to nurse your battle wounds in a 20 minute queue to pay. Its all worth it though when the cashier rings in the items, piles the items into their famous giant paper bags and you stride out with 13 items which together only cost £30, much cheaper than an hour therapy session.