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Opinion: Canada needs a Primark store, or three

If you’ve travelled to Europe, the UK, or perhaps certain American states, you’re likely familiar with the shoppers’ paradise that is Primark. Bright, bold lettering rests above every storefront, with eye-catching window displays one could easily dismiss for an expensive brand.

But it’s not. Primark offerings are affordable, really affordable.

I moved to Canada three years ago and a recent trip home to Ireland made me realize how much I miss this one-stop-shop for all things fashion and lifestyle. This is, in part, due to the fact that Primark is, at present, non-existent in Canada.

The first Primark store opened its doors in Dublin, Ireland back in 1969 under the name “Penneys.” Today, the retail chain is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods plc and operates in 11 countries, with more than 350 stores.

And this is why Canada needs a Primark store, or three.

High-street style at low prices

The quality of womenswear, menswear, accessories, and children’s apparel sold at Primark has gone from strength to strength over the past decade, and the store is now somewhere that you can find trendy, quality pieces to last you through each season. Unlike other retailers, Primark sells exclusively in-store, but you can view the latest collections online.

Other than thrift stores, the most affordable fashion store I’ve found in Vancouver is H&M. Yet last month, I purchased an entire outfit in Primark for €17 (approximately $25.70 CAD) — something that doesn’t happen often in H&M.

Affordable workout apparel

In my experience, living in Canada fosters an active lifestyle. Whether it’s running, hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, or doing yoga, you need the right apparel that’s comfortable, easy to wash, and perhaps thermal.

Granted, there are many Canadian athletic apparel leaders who produce fabulous pieces, yet many collections are out of the average person’s price range. Primark offers a low-cost alternative with their workout apparel (select pieces are made from recyclable materials), with items starting at €6 ($9 CAD). Even if you bought leggings at lululemon and your tops at Primark, you’d be saving along the way.

It’s a pyjama haven

Of course, pyjamas are not something you buy every day. However, they might be something you buy every season. And Primark has a massive selection with every kind of pyjama set you could imagine.

Cropped short styles, long-sleeve fleece options, satin styles, and flannelette pyjamas, among others. With the current weather conditions in Eastern Canada, we could definitely do with a Primark to stock up on warm fleece pyjamas and €3.50 (roughly $5 CAD) socks.

On-trend homewares

Anyone renting or those who have just bought their first place understand the expense of decorating a single room. By the time it comes to buying homewares, you’re often low on your budget. Craigslist was a saviour for me in terms of finding an affordable sofa, table, and chairs. But bedding and cushions are things that you want to buy new.

I’m sorry, but $40 is too expensive for a single cushion in my eyes. Primark sells cushions for as low as €6 (roughly $9 CAD) and duvet covers from €12 ($18 CAD). This leaves you with money to buy a gorgeous scented candle for less than $6 CAD should you so desire.

It’s already the fastest-growing retailer in the US

When Sears Holding Corporation entered into lease agreements with Primark in 2014, it was for seven standalone stores in the Northeastern US. The first US store opened in Boston in 2015, and since then, the retailer has opened a further eight stores — with plans for more.

Primark is now the fastest-growing retailer in the US, according to a 2018 report published by the National Retail Federation Store’s Magazine. But the retailer has no plans for a store in Canada yet.

Let’s hope this changes.

The addition of a Primark store to each major city in Canada would complement existing Canadian brands, create employment, and give shoppers more options within their budget.

A Primark spokesperson told Daily Hive, “Primark does not comment on speculation or plans regarding new store openings.”


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