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If your not familiar with the name..
Primark is now a household name in the UK. Highlighted by TV features, magazine articles and a growing customer base this highstreet brand has become the most popular of the cheap and cheery budget clothing shops. Known as 'Penneys' in Ireland, Primark slowly started to enter the UK in 1995 and now has 140 high street shops dotted around the country. These huge shops are often bombarded with shoppers on a daily basis as word of the Primark phenomenon has spread. Even celebrity Pete Dochety was seen wearing a rather fetching floral dress from the shop in one of his recent concerts - Rock on!
Primark sells Clothing, Shoes, Linen and Household ware (although this is quite limited). Their clothing is available for Women, Men and young children.
Primarks brand names include: (taken from wilkepedia)
Active - Sporting Boyswear Atmosphere - Womenswear Butler & Webb - Formal Menswear Cedarwood State - Casual Menswear Denim Company - Womenswear, Casual Men's and Childrenswear Early Days - Babywear Rebel - Boyswear Secret Possessions - Lingerie Young Dimension - Girlswear Primark Essentials - Essential Items eg. Underwear
The Market Primark is aiming for..
Primark has a high turnaround of the latest trends and fashions taken directly from designers cat walks. There own cheaper interpretations are often a hit with fashion concious twenty somethings who keep up to date with whats hot or not. The clothing is meant to be dispensable. When buying from Primark shoppers often know the clothes arent going to last them seasons ahead as the quality isnt the greatest. You can expect to get a few months wear out of them before having to bin them due to them dropping to bits with wear and tear. If you are on a budget Primark offers a great alternative to more expensive high street stores such as Topshop, Warehouse and Dorothy Perkins. Its closest competitor is Peacocks which is a similar budget clothing store.
What To Expect Upon Arrival at your nearest store..
At a City or Town near you no doubt there will be a Primark Store. They are absolutely huge in size, comparable to a warehouse. The Primark logo is donned above the entry point in huge lettering. The starkly lit stores are easy to navigate and separated into different departments so often I will go in one direction and my partner in the other.
The clothing department is hell. If you hate shopping at the best of times and loathe busy, disorganised places you are going to hate this. Clothes are displayed either in piles on wooden tables or on metail rails. Due to the huge volume of customers going through the store the items are often left in disarray. At times I have to stop myself going round and tidying up. Clothes are left on the floor, crumpled up and the sizes are often put on the wrong hangers so you have to double check you have the correct size. Take into consideration at the same time you are having to work your way through the crowds of clothes
hungry women who will snap the last of any given item from beneath your hands and your left with a headache. Screaming kids in buggies whos mothers have left them to track down a size 3 in the latest suede purple boot echo around the floor and bored, anxious boyfriends desparately eye up the exit.
Although Their Clothing Lines are Great..
Despite this, I urge you to carry on plodding through. Not only do they have great staple pieces like Vest tops, Basic T-Shirts and Jeans at the cheapest prices, their accessories are often beautiful and hard wearing. They stock every little thing you could think of; Head Scarves, Belts, Bags, Gloves, Jewellery, Purses and Socks. Their lingerie section is particularly endearing. They have cute matching bra and knicker sets for half the price you will find them in other High Street Stores. Camisole tops and nightwear are also available in gorgeous designs to suit the younger or older lady.
If you havent got a huge budget to shop for new work clothes, winter clothing or holiday clothing you will not get any cheaper than Primark.
The Male Clothing department is equally disorganised although it does have a tad more decorum than the ladies. Men dont go as mad for the bargains as we do I presume! My Boyfriend though isnt as impressed with the range of clothing as compared to Womens. This is often a gripe of his that they dont get a good a deal as us. He regularly stocks up on socks/boxer shorts and T-shirts to hang about the house in though, and I can heartily reccomend their long johns for those long, cold, winter nights.
The Kids department is brilliant. My sister has a 2 year old son and has bought so many clothes from Primark, she is quite a regular. As kids grow so fast it seems a shame to spend a large amount of money on something that will realistically at that age only last a few months. They have packs of baby grows for £2 and lots of snug little outfits that when on you would hardly be able to tell they cost a fraction of the price as his other clothes. Although again, there seems to be a larger variety of clothing for Baby girls rather than Baby boys. We really need to balance the equation!
I am currently in the process of *thinking* about moving in with my partner so I checked out their Household section to see if they had any girly pieces that would put my stamp on the house once I moved in, with his approval of course. Cough. This was not as impressive as the clothing sections. There was a limited choice of items to choose from. They stock Bath Sets, Pillow Cases, Duvet Covers, Pillows and Bathroom Sets. I was looking for curtains but unfortunately they didnt stock them. The pricing was again much cheaper than other places but they only had plain dreary colours to choose from and no hip or beautiful designs to pick from. I recommend shopping around rather than going to Primark for household goods, I much preferred the choise at Wilkinsons.
The Customer Service is..
questionable. Although they have a vast amount of staff circulating around the floor, they are always so busy picking up clothing off the floor and straightening shelves it seems they have little time to do anything else. They seem as in the dark as you do if you ask where particular new items are and are likely to transfer you to another colleague, who will no doubt do the same.
They have a quick turn over off staff as well as clothing by the looks of it also. My local store is staffed 80% by college students who when serving you will often not even give you eye contact. Instead be prepared to listen to them talking to the colleague next to them about the previous night out. The things you hear! You will always get a blunt and automated 'Thankyou' once you have been served though.
I once lost my purse somewhere around the store and told a member of staff, who rather than help me or go to lost property and look told me to have a look. You can imagine how hard this was and I was getting more stressed by the second. After craning my neck under so many rails of clothing I almost got RSI, I found the purse - Thankgoodness.
At my local store they have two main till areas where you go to pay. These are at opposite ends of the store. They have around 6 tilll points at each end. There never seems to be enough staff to cover all the till points and there is always one end closed. This results in huge queues which is stressful and annoying. The queues can mean waiting times of around 20 minutes, this can fluctuate depending on the day and time you go. Be prepared!
The Refund Policy is..
If you have have a receipt for the item you have bought and it is within 14 days of purchase you are entitled to your money back if the item is still in the same condition as when you bought it. The refund will be put on your debit card if you paid with that or given back to you in cash if you paid that way.
If you do not have the receipt you will be given store credit to the same amount as the item you bought. They will tell you to look around the store and see if you can see anything.
The queues for the refund section are often huge also. They are manned by 1 person at my local store and this never seems adequate. They are very understanding though and never question you to make you feel guilty or as though you are making a reason up! They will ask you to fill in a few details on the receipt such as your address which they will then keep for future reference. The time taken is often just a few minutes, once you are served.
The Changing Rooms are..
Adequate if a bit basic. You will be allowed in with 3 items only, so If you have anymore this can pose a bit of a problem. They are just cubicles of small spaces curtained off with a little mirror and hook in. There are around 10 cubicles which can get overcrowded at weekend especially. At my store the changing rooms are rather dirty and in need of a good clean, their are cobwebs and dirty walls. Ick.
The turnaround of stock is very quick. They have deliveries of clothes on a weekly
Pictures of Primark (Shop)
basis so you have to be quick and pick up the item you want before it disappears. Often items from Primark can be seen on Ebay for extortionate amounts reflecting its popularity and demand.
The quality is debatable and is one thing which puts alot of consumers off shopping at Primark. If you want sustainable items that will last along time in your wardrobe this isnt the place to go. Due to the cheap quality material to keep production costs to a minimum they easily lose their shape and are prone to wear and tear quicker. I bought a t-shirt which after one wash lost its fitted shape and became baggy and gaping at the bottom. Of course I took it back and got a refund but this is hardly acceptable.
With some of the clothing the sizing can be 'off' too. You have to go to the changing rooms and try on your normal size to see if it is accurate as I normally have to go one size smaller to normal for some reason, especially with Jeans.
You arent going to get any unique items from Primark, If you dont mind seeing others in the same top or bottoms as you then very well but due to the endless stock you wont be alone in wearing whatever you buy.
Price Ranges and Comparisons to other stores..
The pricing of womens clothing is very competitive. The most expensive pieces I have seen are around £25.
Here are examples of ladies pricing:
Basic Vest Tops are £1.50. Jeans are anything from £6 to £12 Shoes anything up to £20 Jumpers and Fashionable Tops anything from £6-£15 Knickers £1-2 Socks £1-2
Mens prices are along the same lines.
Childrens clothing ranges from £1- £10 for outfits, underwear and pyjamas.
As you can see this is a fraction of the price as compared to Arcadia stores.
By shopping with Primark you are losing out on a warm friendly environment with the best cuts, quality of material and designer name, but you are benefitting from the latest trends at cheap prices. Primark is in itself overcoming the obstacle of being a cheap budget shop, It has appeared in Elle and Vogue magazines and is quickly becoming the hottest place to shop. Budget shop chic is the new Designer expensive blowout. Why spend more than you have to?
Hmm debatable once more. None of the items produced are from UK workers. They are all from abroad with cheap labour and one can presume less than satisfactory work conditions. Primark was voted the UKs least ethical company scoring 2.5 out of a possible 20. Employers are paid the least amount of possible money to produce the highest quantity of goods.
Cuts are made on quality of materials used so be careful what you are buying and If it is what you want. Many people say that you should save the money you would spend on several pieces from primark for 1 piece from a trusted brand that would last you a longer time, I tend to agree but cant help picking up a bargain.
For a cheap and cheery if stressful shopping trip, here is your best bet. Avoid weekends and kids holidays if possible as they are the busiest times with peak numbers of consumers mulling through the aisles. For the latest suede pixie boots, shift jaquard look dresses and fake leopard print tunics look no further. Its a fashionistas budget haven.