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Primark's online baby steps offer a tantalising glimpse of the future

Primark’s first tentative step is a tantalising move for those who – for whatever reason – do not go in the value retailer’s stores.

Twitter was abuzz with Primark’s move to sell a selection of clothing via Asos, revealed yesterday afternoon.

The value retailer issued a statement shortly afterwards saying it was a “very limited trial” and that it remained focused on its store expansion, but hinted that this was just the first step in its long-awaited move to an ecommerce platform by noting that it would “give the company some insight into online retailing”.

For several months now both analysts and shoppers alike have urged the retailer to get selling online. While the rationale for not doing so is valid – and Primark shows no sign of suffering from its lack of web presence – the opportunities for its ecommerce arm are huge.

Primark has for a long time now had an aggressive store opening strategy, leaving few cities or fair sized towns without an outlet.

But there will always be people for whom shopping online has become second nature – either they can’t get to the shops or prefer the experience of shopping online. Primark’s range of cheap and fashionable clothes tempt countless shoppers through its various doors but for those who have been put off the physical stores in the past – and in my office there appeared to be several, across various age groups and buying habits  - Primark may have just opened its online window to far greater world.

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