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Paul Marchant

CEO, Primark

It was a year of celebration for Primark in 2019: the value retailer marked its 50th year of trading, CEO Paul Marchant his 10th anniversary at its helm and it scooped a hat-trick of trophies at the Drapers Awards in November.

One of fashion’s most respected leaders, Marchant’s strategy of focusing on bricks-and-mortar expansion has continued to pay off. Primark revenue rose 4.2% to £7.8bn for the year to 14 September, driven by its ongoing store rollout.

Primark opened 14 stores during the year, increasing its selling space by 900,000 sq ft. This included the opening of the world’s largest fashion retail store, as designated by Guinness World Records, in Birmingham, complete with a “Primarket” cafe, Disney Cafe, customisation lab, beauty bar and barber.

The 2019 Drapers Awards judges called it “retail at its best”.

UK sales grew 2.5% in the year to September, and Primark said its clothing, footwear and accessories categories continued to “outperform” its competitors – including those online, where is has no transactional presence – in a challenging market.

In September, Marchant took the tough decision to move Primark’s Reading-based product operations to Dublin, affecting 220 roles.

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