Primark targets Belgium in push across Europe

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The Independent Online

The discount fashion store chain Primark plans to launch in Belgium next year, in the latest phase of its European expansion.

Buoyant trade at Primark's first store in the Netherlands, which opened in Rotterdam in December, has convinced its management to enter Belgium in 2010. Primark, which has 188 stores in countries including the UK, Ireland and Spain, will open its first store in Germany in the city of Bremen tomorrow. Earlier this year, it launched in Portugal with a shop in the capital, Lisbon.

Primark, owned by Associated British Foods, is reportedly plotting to enter another unnamed European country later this year, but it declined to comment yesterday. Seamus Halford, the deputy managing director of Primark, is understood to be focusing more strongly on international, signalling the growing importance of overseas expansion to the chain. Mr Halford is one of the so-called ‘gang of four’, who along with Primark’s executive chairman Arthur Ryan, has helped to grow the chain into a retail powerhouse after it opened its first store in Dublin in 1969.

Last July, Primark hired Guy Young as international trading director to help spearhead its international push. This year, Primark’s senior team was also bolstered by the appointment of Paul Marchant, formerly at New Look, as chief operating officer.