James Moore: Will the Americans say 'yeah' to Primark?
Outlook Most people have heard of the Beatles and the British invasion of America they led in the 1960s. Now it seems there's a latterday version in operation – but it isn't music that's being sold, it's garments. Cheap ones.
Hot on the heels of Tesco unveiling plans to open clothes shops on America's eastern seaboard, Primark is following suit with a Boston bridgehead.
It shouldn't be forgotten that it is only possible for Primark (and Tesco) to offer such low prices because their production costs are minimal, although far grander brands sail off the production lines they use – brands which have so far proved more reluctant than Primark to divert some of the money they make towards compensating victims of the garment industry's business model, the Bangladeshi workers caught up in the Rana Plaza disaster.
Primark has ponied up more than half of the money received by the fund established for victims. Perhaps the public relations pressure it has been under helped to concentrate minds. Others now need to feel the same heat.
Primark's numbers show that it is thriving despite the controversy, and that there is an appetite for its concept beyond these shores. But does that include the US? Many retailers have made the move across the Atlantic, only to find their ambitions dashed.
Primark's disposable model might just stick in the country that brought the disposable society to the world. Although quite what they'll make of concepts like the padded bikini for kids (OK, it was withdrawn) if Primark's tendrils extend into the Bible belt remains to be seen.
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