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Thought Ireland loved Penneys? The fashion-conscious French are lapping it up

The country has been a fertile feeding ground for the budget clothing chain.

A model shows off some Penneys threads
A model shows off some Penneys threads
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

IN A COUNTRY home to high fashion labels like Chanel and Louis Vuitton, Ireland’s best-known budget clothes brand has been the one wooing customers.

France has proved to be the best feeding ground yet for Primark – which trades as Penneys in Ireland – the fast-fashion chain that began on Mary Street, Dublin in 1969.

Its parent company, Associated British Foods (ABF), this morning reported sales at the brand were expected to be up 13% over the past year after it opened another 20 stores in various countries.

“Very high sales densities were achieved by stores opened in the last 18 months and especially by our stores in France, which has been our most successful new market entry to date,” ABF said in an update just ahead of its annual results.

Primark stock Source: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Primark has five stores in France, including three trading in Paris, and it plans to open another three outlets in the country over the next 12 months.

The company said sales in Ireland, the UK, Spain and Portugal had all been good, although sales in existing stores in the Netherlands and Germany took a hit because of new outlets being opened.

A US move

In the coming financial year, ABF plans to add more than 13% more floorspace to its Primark stores with most of the expansion to come with a US rollout and further growth in Spain and the UK.

The first North American store will open in Boston this week, while Primark will also unveil its maiden outlet in Italy and a new flagship store in central Madrid.

The clothes chain now contributes about half of all ABF’s profits, offsetting a poor performance from some of its other segments. The company’s grocery brands include Twinings, Ovaltine, Ryvita and Patak’s.

READ: Jessica Alba’s company is being sued for selling ‘deceptively’ labelled products >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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