Value chain’s first concessions set for Birmingham and Trafford Centre stores
Drapers has learnt that the Irish high street phenomenon is to open a 1,000 sq ft concession in Selfridges’ Birmingham Bullring store on Monday, followed in November by one in Manchester’s Trafford Centre.
The tie-up is the most significant evidence yet of how shoppers are mixing the kind of exclusive brands Selfridges is renowned for with the fast-fashion offered by Primark.
The two stores will feature an edited version of the Primark menswear collection, focused on clothing but including footwear and accessories. It is understood about 10% of the mix will be exclusive Primark product available only at Selfridges.
The move will come as a surprise to many, pairing as it does Primark with a high-end retail operation like Selfridges, which sits at the other end of the retail spectrum, but both businesses have been top performers at opposite ends of the market.
The price architecture will be the same as Primark’s core offer with products starting at £2.50 for a T-shirt, and suits on sale for £40. The product will sit in an area designed specifically for Selfridges and a source said it would be very much in keeping with its surroundings while remaining true to the Primark brand.
It is the first time Primark will have opened a concession anywhere, and it is thought to have been under discussion for a year. There are no plans yet to extend the tie-up to Selfridges’ Oxford Street flagship or its Exchange Square store in central Manchester, or to womenswear, although growing the partnership has not been ruled out.
Selfridges is renowned as one of the world’s most fashionable department stores, but has been combining high street fashion with its stable of high-end brands. Last month, H&M launched its first-ever concession within the Oxford Street flagship, alongside sister brands Monki and Cheap Monday, while Topshop and Topman are represented in its stores.
Although Primark’s phenomenal success was initially built on its womenswear offer, the Associated British Foods-owned chain has been making real efforts to build its menswear proposition under chief executive Paul Marchant.
The menswear market has seen increased focus over the past few seasons with strong trends and the proliferation of new brands, as well as high-profile celebrity endorsement from the likes of Liam Gallagher with his Pretty Green label.
Last year Marchant brought in Steve Lawton, who he had previously worked with at New Look and Debenhams, to head menswear for Primark. Lawton is understood to have been working closely with Selfridges buying director David Walker-Smith on the project.
Primark and Selfridges are ultimately controlled by different arms of the Weston family, and both have strong connections with Dublin, where Primark is based.
Neither Primark nor Selfridges were prepared to comment.