Primark overseas director steps down
Primark's director of international trading has quit after less than a year, at a time when the discount fashion retailer is cranking up its European expansion programme.
The high street chain, owned by Associated British Foods, announced the departure of Guy Young, who was also responsible for buying stock for the company's overseas stores, to staff last week.
The revelation is likely to raise eyebrows among retail analysts because Mr Young was hired from Primark's discount rival on the Continent, C&A, only last summer. It is unclear if he has another job to go to.
The Independent has also learned that Primark plans to open a store in the Belgian city of Liège in November – its fourth new overseas territory in less than a year – and in Austria next year as it presses ahead with its plans to conquer Europe. Since December, Primark has launched in the Netherlands, Portugal and Germany.
Details of the international expansion come as Primark, which declined to comment, today unveils its trading update for the 40 weeks to 20 June. The figures are expected to show that Primark has outperformed some of its bigger, mid-market rivals. However, rising unemployment among its core customer base – women aged between 15 and 34 – could dent its hitherto powerful sales in the months ahead.
Primark, which has 189 stores, most of them in the UK, Ireland and Spain, opened its first Dutch outlet in the port city of Rotterdam in December, then followed up with new stores in Lisbon, Portugal, and the German city of Bremen in May. For the 24 weeks to 28 February, Primark's total sales grew by 18 per cent to £1.06bn, while its profits were up 10 per cent at £122m. Like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of new store openings, rose by 5 per cent to buck the downward trend in the retail sector.
It is understood that Seamus Halford, the deputy managing director of Primark, has recently been focusing more on its international business, signalling the growing importance to the chain of overseas expansion. However, there is no suggestion that this has anything to do with the departure Mr Young.
Mr Halford is one of Primark's so-called "gang of four" who, along with the company's executive chairman Arthur Ryan, have helped to grow the chain into a retail powerhouse after it first opened in Dublin in 1969.
Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
Strewth mate. Aussies wave goodbye to Britain as it becomes too pricey to stay
World news in pictures
Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
Oklahoma tornado latest: Obama pledges support for 'as long as it takes' to rebuild the suburb of Moore
- 1 'He was lucky he didn't die' - George Michael fell out of speeding car onto M1 motorway, according to eye witness
- 2 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 3 After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey
- 4 Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
- 5 'It was just like the movie Twister': Man survives Oklahoma tornado by taking refuge in horse stall
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
iJobs Money & Business
£850 - £1000 per day: Orgtel: Programme Change Manager - Banking - London - £8...
£180 - £230 per day: Orgtel: Operations Analyst - Leading Bank in the City of ...
£500 per day: Orgtel: A top tier banking client urgently requires Finance Busi...
£425 - £550 per day: Orgtel: Senior Finance Project Manager - £550 - Bristol -...