With 62% of UK buying less clothing, Primark’s reopening will be met with caution


The reopening of Primark stores in the UK will be met with consumer caution in the long-term.

A COVID-19 tracker compiled by leading data and analytics company, GlobalData, shows that 62% of respondents in the UK said that they have stopped buying, or are buying significantly less, clothing since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arian Bassari, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Although Primark can be confident that the good weather will encourage consumers to purchase items such as t-shirts and shorts – with short-term seasonal spending to fuel immediate sales – over the long-term it is likely that consumers will observe more caution despite Primark’s budget friendly offerings.”

This can also be seen across a number of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) markets as well, with products seen as luxuries taking a hit as consumers reel in their surplus expenses. This also translates to cosmetics and homeware sections.

Bassari continues: “Notably, Primark will not be discounting goods despite sitting on large volumes of stock, and despite Primark’s inherent affordability, a lack of a sale during a time period where consumers are more value conscious than ever may discourage visits to the store.”

What’s more, the general attitude among UK consumers is that they are not willing to visit shopping centers or malls, with 64% of respondents saying they have stopped visiting such outlets altogether and a further 18% claiming they are visiting slightly or significantly less frequently. While Primark has the benefit of being a standalone store, there will continue to be apprehension regarding the safety of visiting shopping outlets.

Bassari continues: “Primark’s decision to reopen is based on an apparent strong demand from consumers, and indeed, footfall is naturally expected to grow in the coming weeks as lockdown measures in the UK are eased; however, overall consumer confidence will ultimately determine how the company and other retailers on the high street perform in the next few months.”