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Primark to remain offline for 'at least the next year'

Primark will continue as a bricks and mortar-only retailer for at least the next year, according to the chief executive of parent company Associated British Foods.

Speaking as ABF revealed yet another “outstanding” year for the fast fashion retailer, George Weston told Drapers that while he would continue to “keep our eye” on ecommerce, there were no plans to launch a transactional website, or repeat this year’s trial with Asos, which only lasted one season.

This comes despite recent investment in a new website for the retailer, which will act purely as a prompt for its bricks and mortar stores.

“We recognise the growing importance of online, and we will keep our eye on it,” Weston said, adding “a year from now we will still be bricks and mortar only”.  

He implied it could be further in the future still, hinting that Primark would not go online until it was finished rolling out stores in Germany within the next three-to-five years.

The website, which relaunched last week, is “not intended to be transactional” at any point, he added, saying it was “just catching up with the way our customer gathers information about the clothes they like”.

“Online communication is an area where we have been weak – previously the Primark website has been anachronistic,” Weston said.

“Just as we don’t think we can be beaten on price in the high street, we take some comfort from the trial with Asos that we don’t think we can be beaten online either,” he added, noting he was “very excited by the high street’s prospects in the UK and Europe.”

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