Primark to open biggest UK store next year in Birmingham
Primark is set to open its biggest UK store just before Christmas next year with a 160,000 sq ft space in the centre of Britain’s second biggest city, Birmingham.
The store, in the now-closed Birmingham Pavilions centre, had earlier been expected to open by next spring. But with Primark having owned the site since 2014, it’s clearly in no hurry.
It acquired the site in the 29-year-old centre for a rumoured £60 million and is currently converting it into a four-storey flagship that will will offer the complete brand line-up.
When it opens, the company will close its existing store in New Street but the larger size of the new location means its staff numbers in the city will go from 460 people to 800. The new store will be slightly bigger than the chain’s current largest UK site, which is in Manchester.
Primark’s plans for the site have been welcomed as it will open up the space between New Street and the area that will host the new high-speed HS2 railway line when it is completed. Just as the new Elizabeth Line underground railway development in London is expected to boost West End visits by 60 million a year, the HS2 opening should also be a major boost for Birmingham. And the regeneration of the area will also be helped by the now-empty former BHS store being earmarked for H&M.
The size of the planned Birmingham flagship reflects both the company’s expansion focus and the city’s growing importance as a key location for fashion destination stores since the Bullring was redeveloped in 2003 and Selfridges opened there. The opening of the Grand Central mall in 2015 also added to its appeal. This year Coach has announced it will open only its second standalone outside London there with Ben Sherman and Russell & Bromley also opening or announcing new stores. Other recent openings include Hobbs, Paul Smith, Ikea and Furla.
The Primark opening will come just ahead of the company celebrating its 50th anniversary. It first store, under the Penneys name, debuted in Ireland in 1969 but it used the Primark name when it set foot in Britain four years later in order to avoid a clash with US retailer JC Penney.
Primark has been extremely active on the store opening front in recent periods and continues to be so. In the first half it increased retail selling space by 0.8 million sq ft and had 329 stores trading from 13.1 million sq ft by early March. Its new stores included five in the UK, a second store in Italy, one in the centre of Amsterdam and a sixth location in the US, in Burlington, Massachusetts.
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