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Retailers say Primark will lift Oxford Street

Primark will open its most high-profile store to date next week when it unveils its new flagship on London's Oxford Street.

Its arrival has been welcomed by other retailers, which hope the store will lift the Marble Arch end of the street that is often overlooked by shoppers. The 66,000 sq ft of trading space replaces the old Allders store.

Paul Marchant, managing director for merchandising at New Look, said Primark's arrival on Oxford Street represented a real draw for the area. "We'll all benefit from the increased footfall," he said. "With New Look, H&M, River Island and Next, we'll have a decent chunk of the street. Traditionally, shoppers tend to stop at Selfridges or Marks & Spencer, but we're giving consumers a reason to extend their trip. I can only see good things from Primark's opening."

Richard Kirk, chief executive of value chain Peacocks, said the impact would be felt by all retailers nearby. "Many of the visitors to Oxford Street are tourists looking for cheap, fashionable basics. This store will do so well for Primark; it's a cracking location."

Kirk added that he would keep an eye out for sites on Oxford Street for Peacocks, but was in no rush. The chain recently lost out to Uniqlo in a battle to take over the former Waterstone's store on the street.

Peter Mace, partner at property agency Cushman & Wakefield, said Primark would make a good anchor tenant and that retailers should not be concerned about rising rents. "That end of Oxford Street has been quite weak - Primark's arrival might bump up rents a bit, but not significantly," he said. "In fact, its presence will bring vitality to the area and attract a host of retailers."

As Primark's flagship, the shop will be used to introduce ethical initiatives. Last month the retailer was one of several that pledged to reduce the environmental impact of its plastic bags by 25% by 2008.

The store will also showcase Primark's biggest organic offer, with a broad range of women's tops priced from £4.

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