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Primark ups the experience in biggest-ever store

Experiential retail has become a guiding principle for stores at the middle and upper layers of the price scale. But it’s also making an impact on those who’ve generally been able to rely on low, low pricing to tempt shoppers though their doors. A new store concept sees Primark becomes the latest high street store to focus as heavily on dwell time as it does on price.

It makes sense, given that the bricks-and-mortar experience is Primark’s key driver. With no e-commerce operation to fall back on, and with news that UK retail footfall dropped by as much as 3m people last year, it’s clear that offering as many attractions in those stores as possible is crucial for the brand.

The company will open its largest store yet in Birmingham next month, and while it will be its 187th in Britain, it’s certainly not going to be ‘just another’ store. For a start, it will have 160,100 sq ft of retail space, which easily beats its previous biggest (Manchester) by 5,000 sq ft. It’s also nearly four times the size of the current Birmingham branch.

Opening on April 11, the Birmingham high street location (in the former Pavilions shopping centre) will cover five floors and have around 1,000 staff. But what’s really important isn’t the size but the range of services on offer there. As well as the ultra cheap fashion, homewares and beauty were used to from the chain, there will be restaurants, brow and nail bars and an in-house barber.

It will feature the company’s the biggest ever beauty studio offering services for nails, make-up, hair, eyebrows and lashes and will also include a personalisation service, “recharge seating areas and free Wifi, plus the restaurant offer will include three different locations (“unique and amazing dining experiences,” the company claims) and the company is also promising further surprises on opening day.

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