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Primark: a comparative study, commonalities and the future

Written by Geoblink ·


Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, a subsidiary within Associated British Food, Primark Holds 385 stores across Europe and the USA. The international clothing retailer stocks a diverse range of products from kid’s wear to confectionery. Moreover, the revenue in 2016 was GB£ 5,949 million, an increase from GB£ 1,602 million in 2007. Thus the store has been showing an upward trajectory since its inception in 1969.

Citing the popularity of this low-cost-trendy-fashion store, we are aiming to spin an analysis around the 3 selected stores in the most prominent UK cities, namely Manchester, Leeds, and Bristol to learn about the business side backing this retail clothing.  

Some facts about Primark in the UK

Delving into the 3 UK cities

Primark, Market Street, Manchester

With a retail space of 155,000 sq.ft, this store in Manchester is the largest in Primark’s history seconded by a store in Madrid, Spain, with a retail space of 133,000 sq.ft.

Using Geoblink, let us now analyse the surroundings of a catchment area created within a 20-minute walking distance from a point on the Market street:

  • Census population: 25,650 inhabitants
  • Disposable income: 33,100£ (highest compared to the country’s at 29,200£)
  • Foot traffic: very high
  • Number of households:13,500 households

The average age of the population in this specific location is 29.7 years with 69,230 workers. The unemployment rate is at 3%, which is lower than the rate of the region (6.9%) and the country (6.3%). Focusing on the commercial markets, the area is home for 2,550 shopping stores with 3 Primark stores abutting the Market street and noteworthy stores, such as H&M, Topshop, GAP and Zara at 145, 145, 385 and 435 metres (from the primark’s location at Market street) amongst other potential markets respectively.

Primark - Manchester

Primark, Albion Street, Leeds:

Primark’s retailing scene in Leeds happens over a sprawling 67,400 sq.ft. and 4 floors.
Let’s analyse the demographic and economic data of a catchment area created within a 20-minute walking distance from the Albion street in Leeds:  

  • Census population: 17,330 inhabitants
  • Disposable income: 35,450£ (highest compared to the country’s at 29,200£)
  • Foot traffic: Very high
  • Number of households: 8,050 households

Focusing on the similar indicators like above, we can decipher the average age of the population in this area is 27 years with 79,510 workers. The unemployment rate is low at 3.7% but higher than the Manchester’s figure. The catchment area encloses 1,650 commercial markets with 2 Primark stores and H&M, Zara at 46m and 265m respectively amongst other potential markets. The area is also home to plentiful restaurants serving all types of cuisine from Italian to Indian.

Primark - Leeds

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Primark, the horsefair, Bristol:

The store occupies a mediocre retail space with four floors. It is UK’s largest store after Manchester’s.

The following information is extracted about a catchment area, created within a 20-minute walking distance from the center, from our application:

  • Census population: 29,470 inhabitants
  • Disposable income: 30,100£
  • Foot traffic: Very high
  • Number of households: 13,000 households

The average age in this location is 29.3 years with 62,940 workers. The unemployment rate is slightly higher in this region at 7.9%. This is reported higher than the country’s rate at 6.3%. The area encloses 1,750 commercial stores with Primark(1), Zara(1), GAP(2), Topshop(2) and H&M(3) at 375, 200, 150, 195 metres from the centre respectively. The area is gastronomically rich with 524 eat outs ranging from eat-on-the-go Five guys to cosy Bella Italia amongst other noteworthy ones.

Primark -Bristol


So, what pieces of information can we collect from the above analysis?

Let’s decipher the commonalities among the three stores:

  • The international retail clothing store spans over a maximum of 4 floors in the 3 regions. 
  • Although, the census population of the created catchment area in Leeds is lagging behind the population in Manchester and Bristol, it brings us to an understanding that Primark finds a spot in areas such as these where the population is at least merely appreciable.
  • We can find a bond among the 3 areas under study in terms of average annual disposable income. They show an income figure that is greater than the average disposable income of the British which is at GB£ 26,300
  • The pedestrian traffic is undoubtedly very high in all the three areas. 
  • The unemployment rate appears positive in Manchester and Leeds, except Bristol, where it is higher than the country’s rate (6.3%).

In addition to the above identical demographic and economic indicators, a fact that is strikingly relevant is the presence of the store in the same zone as the eminent fashion brands such as Zara, GAP, H&M and Topshop that are located within a maximum distance of 375m by foot. This is a substantial strategy that Primark seems to deploy every time it opens a new store, to magnetise or cannibalise customers, offering the best fashion at bang-on affordable prices when its competitors are delivering fashion at a comparatively higher costs.

Also, before opening a new store in a different location, the prime factors the clothing store prudently take into account are: the presence of an efficient transportation system and quick-bite restaurants in close proximity to the store location. For the former, the three selected areas have a convenient transportation system with at least one bus and train/metro stations. For the latter, the  areas have sufficient on-the-go eatouts such as McDonlad’s, Five Guys, Subways, Burger King, etc.


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Primark’s revenue has only surged since its initiation in 1969. Also, the money flowing into this international clothing store remains stable through all the economic conditions. Gaining more visibility with its ethical trading practice and not making much noise with adverts, Primark definitely holds a position among today’s shoppers as a store offering amazing fashion at amazing prices.

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