At 4pm UK time, we will be able to judge how well Primark is going to do in the US. At 11am local time, Marty Walsh, mayor of Boston, will officially open the 77,300 sq ft debut American store for the Dublin-based phenomenon, which is playing on its Irish roots in this very Irish city.
By Eric Musgrave in Boston, Massachusetts
All the indications are that Primark will make a significant splash in the massive and massively competitive US market. Its first store occupies the former Filene’s Basement department store, a beautiful Beaux-Arts building that opened in 1912 and became a Boston landmark. It is like a smaller version of Selfridges in Oxford Street, which is unsurprising as it was designed by the same man, Chicago architect Daniel Burnham.
Filene’s has been closed since 2006, so Primark has revitalised a much-loved Boston retail establishment as well as bringing its unique style of value retailing to the American market. A second store will be opened at the King of Prussia mall in Philadelphia in November (just in time for Thanksgiving - and Black Friday!). Six more will follow across the northeastern states in 2016.
Judging by the enthusiasm of the local bloggers, stylists and shoppers who Drapers spoke to at the pre-opening party last night (Wednesday), Primark will be as popular in the US as it is in its other nine markets. The Boston store, situated above Downtown Crossing, the major subway complex in the city, is the company’s 292nd branch.