“We will not increase our prices”

On September 15, Primark announced its new “Primark Cares” sustainability strategy and 10-year goals. Building on the work that Primark has already quietly undertaken over the past decade, the new 10-year strategy revolves around nine key commitments, through three main pillars: “product” and extending the lifespan of vehicles. clothes ; “People” and the improvement of life; and “planet”, protecting life on earth.

Marchant told C Suite delegates at the Drapers Fashion Forum today, “I think the launch has upped the game in the eyes of the consumer, but also for us as a company. We don’t have all the answers, but we have real motivation and ambition. Empowering our customers and new customers to make more sustainable choices at Primark is essential. The key is to make durable clothing affordable for people.

“We also knew that not all of the goals would be achievable on our own, so it’s about working with suppliers and major NGOs. Working together is the only way to achieve the goals we need to achieve. We cannot do it. all alone, and we have to work together. It’s the right thing to do because we’re a volume business. We are not ashamed, we are proud of it. “

He also confirmed that prices will not increase due to his new sustainability program: “We are not getting more expensive. We haven’t increased the prices for likes and we don’t want to increase the prices. We want to maintain this aggressive price proposition. We realize that sustainability is something we need to invest in, and we are not afraid to invest.

Primark announced on November 9 that it plans to open an additional 132 stores over the next five years, increasing its inventory from 398 at the end of this fiscal year to 500. Most of the new stores will be in its key markets of ‘Italy and Spain.

Marchant said: “We recognize that when it rains on a Saturday people stay and watch Netflix, so we have to find a reason for people to come shopping – cafes, food in stores etc. Yes, its service. , but it’s not just a basic fashion or beauty offering, it has to be different, there will be a lot more to come.

“In a world where we are used to sitting behind a screen, we really saw a desire when we reopened [post-lockdown] for colleagues to re-engage with each other. We have also, unfortunately, seen many competitors shut down, so we recognize the role we can play. You are part of the community and we see our physical stores as part of the communities. “

Marchant also canceled any plans to move the website to an e-commerce site: “We want to continue investing in traditional stores – restoring stores, as well as investing in new stores. We have 24 million social media followers, and they’re growing all the time, but we have to do better than that.

“We have a website that falls short of the standard we want it to be. It will be relaunched in the spring of next year and it will feature [more] product online. And it will also give customers the ability to identify what is in our store. Right now we’re focused on bricks and mortar, and we’re focusing on digital upgrades – so no plans to go live yet. “

He continued, “I think getting people to shop is absolutely a program that we’re looking for with the investment. We’re a business, and everyone in this room has to evolve, and say no to the line and click and collect. is the hardest thing. we can do it. But we’ve proven that we can be profitable without it. “

The CEO of Primark also said launching third-party brands wouldn’t be the right thing for the retailer to do: “We have third-party brands – like Disney, Warner, NFL – but we think our product buys things that you can’t buy. anywhere else: unique products. Again, this is another reason to walk into a Primark store to buy things. Selling the same things that other retailers are selling is not where we are.

When asked what is keeping him awake at night right now, Marchant replied: “That would be the uncertainty of what lies ahead. If you think of Ireland, all that opens up, we are now back to restrictions and working from home unless you have to be in the office.

“You are dealing with different operations in different countries, so you have a different set of restrictions. You have to be really considerate and attentive.

“It’s about thinking about what’s next and thinking about how to handle it appropriately.”

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