Advantages Great prices, fantastic value, good returns policy.
Disadvantages Long queues, very messy stores, unhelpful staff, uncomfortable conditions.
|Range of products|
|Value for Money|
|Speed of delivery||Not applicable|
INTRODUCTIONFor those of you not in the know, Primark is a department store chain that specialises in clothing for men, women and children/babies. They also include a home section and ladies...ahem...err...yes. Unmentionables, in other words. They have been operating for several years and they are currently buying out the Littlewoods stores, several of the best of which will be turned into Primarks and the rest sold for a tidy sum to other retailers. It's a good move that should see the chain expand its empire to reach more customers across the UK.
Primark specialise in low prices. Please note that when I say low, what I really mean is INCREDIBLY LOW. A ladies fashion belt for £2, a pair of mens fashion jeans for £8....you're getting the idea. In order for Primark to make a decent enough profit after paying its work force and all its other expenses at these sorts of prices, it needs to sell sheer volume. Bulk sales, in more confined terms. In their method of bulk selling lie several advantages and several disadvantages but be well aware from the start that Primark is not about high price and top notch quality. It is about slightly low but still reasonable quality for a very very low price.
PRIMARK: THE MARKET
So what is Primark like as a store then? (I hear you ask). Well as aforementioned, Primark sell at low prices and therefore sell in bulk (do remember this point because it will be returned to later). The quality of their stock is by no means anywhere near the best on the high street. You will find better in Marks and Spencer, BHS or Debenhams for example, no question. However, it's not always all about quality - it's also about value and value is quality compared to price. This is where Primark swim into the lead. Their quality, while not being the best is still reasonable but their prices are simply unbeatable. Nowhere else could you find cheaper socks, jeans, t-shirts, belts, pillows, bras...and so it goes on. To give you an idea, I bought a pair of brown bootcut cords and a thick winter top from Primark which formed a nice, slightly smart winter outfit for £16 (£8 per item). Now that's good. The cords have a seam down the side which indicates lesser quality but the point is, they look good and they last easily long enough to merit the price ticket.
V IS FOR VALUE
When it comes to fashion, Primark aren't half bad. If you were 16 then you wouldn't necessarily boast to your piers that 65% of your wardrobe comes from the cheap as chips, dark blue and white themed chain store but then you wouldn't cringe at their more trendy offerings either. Many lines that they produce are not too dissimilar to lines that can be found in fashion stores such as Zara and Top Shop/Top Man. Sure the quality hasn't quite caught up and they don't look quite the same but it's not far off by any means and remember that the prices are second to none.
IT'S GOT THE LOOK
So does its great value make Primark a great store? Well to be perfectly frank, no it doesn't. True enough, Primark have the value nailed but there are more concerning issues at stake. Lets start by returning to the point I asked you to make a note of earlier. Primark sell in bulk in order to make their money. That means they sell to a large amount of people and their stores are usually heaving with people. If you make a trip on a saturday or sunday then you can expect to average a speed through the store of roughly 1 metre per minute. This is more then off-putting to a potential buyer. You see a rack of what might be (probably is) decent gear and it's smothered in vulturous customers, like wasps swarming around a dropped ice cream on a hot day. When you reach the rack itself, half of the stock is on the floor, half of it is dirty due to being on the floor and all the hangers are mixed up.
FIGHTING THE HIVE TO REACH THE HONEY
The last thing to note is that Primark don't tend to have "sales". Most of what they sell is already as low as they will sell it which is a good thing because everyone gets a low price but don't wait for a half price event because it just doesn't work that way.
So there are the main problems with Primark. Untidy, messy, crowded, hot and generally a very tiresome, hot and bothered shopping experience but lets not over look their redeeming features. As I've said before, excellent value is their hallmark and their clothing is mostly quite reliable. Most of it wont last forever but it'll last long enough to suit your needs and make a good dishcloth at the end of it. Also, they are very good with refunds and returns.
In our store, there is no time limit for a return, just the usual expected reasonable amount of time and reasonable condition. This means you needn't venture near those awful fitting rooms (which are about as welcome as a hornet on a nudist beach) but you can try things on in the comfort of your home and return them at your convenience.
So when it comes to pitching Primark against its competitors how does it fare? Well let me cast my critical eye over some of its main contenders.BHS - 4/5. Good fashion lines, good value but not the best. Friendly staff.
MARKS AND SPENCER'S - 4/5. Now lower prices and good quality lines, though some fittings in certain lines are a little iffy. Great food section.JOHN LEWIS - 4/5. Good quality and good guarantees. Not the cheapest store and their "Never Knowingly Undersold" policy is not always true but most of the time it is and a great range of goods.
PRIMARK - 3/5. Fantastic value and low prices but slightly unhelpful staff and very messy and hard to shop in.These are the main department stores listed here. As you can see, I have given Primark a lower rating though that doesn't mean you should only look in the other 3 stores - Primark at least have their rightful place as cheapest of the lot.
So to round things off, Primark overall are not all bad but not brilliant. It's all very well having good value but if getting to the stock itself is such a deterring and unwelcome challenge then there is little point. Personally, I like to shop with very few other people around and I tend to drift around quite quickly since I'm not a shopping fan; another impossibility in Primark.
So my final advice is simply this. If you're a big fan of buying as cheap as possible and you don't mind fighting your way through and spending time then Primark is most certainly for you. Otherwise, do check it out on quiet days by all means (best to head there early) but don't bother with it apart from that.
Also, avoid the store at weekends like the plague - even if it is the only chance you get to shop because you'll waste a lot of your time standing within a tomb of other bodies, on the floor in a pile of special offer cardigans or in a long queue to purchase the pair of socks you eventually found in the right colour.
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