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Primark earmarks five sites for France launch

Primark is planning to take more than 233,000 sq ft of retail space in France in the next 12 months, Drapers can reveal.

The value giant has so far identified five stores that will open from December this year, with the last opening in June 2014.

Primark will make its French debut in Marseille just before Christmas. The 62,800 sq ft store, in the Grand Littoral shopping centre, will be the retailer’s French flagship.

Primark’s second store will open in Dijon, at the Toison d’Or shopping centre, in February. It will be its third largest at 44,200 sq ft.

The remaining three stores will be in Paris, with two opening in March: a 37,400 sq ft store in the O’Parinor mall, and 47,000 sq ft store in the Villeneuve-la-Garenne shopping centre. In June, Primark will open a 42,100 sq ft store in Paris’s Créteil Soleil scheme.

It is not clear whether there are plans to open more stores, although it is believed this marks the initial stage in the company’s French strategy.

Primark’s parent company Associated British Foods (ABF) first confirmed its plans to enter France this April.

At the time, ABF chief executive George Weston said the success of competitors such as H&M, Zara, C&A and New Look had given management “reason to believe it is worth having a go”.

He said: “They are all running significant numbers of stores in France and we think ‘why shouldn’t we be there too?’.”

“Clearly the French teenager is fashionable. We are told that in France there are people with more of a tendency to buy single classic items and then accessorise around them, but we will wait to see what happens.”

Primark has 256 stores across eight countries including the UK, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. Of the 256 stores, 160 are in the UK and 38 in the Republic of Ireland.

Primark sales grew 20% in the 16 weeks to June 22, fuelled by a rise in retail space and strong like-for-likes.

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