Primark opens its doors for the first time in France.

Primark says it wants to capitalise on a “huge expansion opportunity” across Europe as it opens its doors for the first time in France.

The discount fashion retailer opened a store in Marseille on Monday, attracting crowds of shoppers as it offered its cut-price t-shirts, jeans and pyjamas to the fashion-conscious French for the first time.

Primark has been one of the retail success stories of the last few years in the UK as cash-strapped shoppers have increasingly turned to their retail chain for their clothing. In six months to September 14 its sales rose 22pc to £4.3bn.

The retailer has already successfully launched in Germany, Spain and Portugal, but Primark’s opening in France marks a new phase of its expansion given the country’s reputation for high fashion.

However, John Bason, the finance director of Primark’s parent company Associated British Foods, said the discount retailer is confident it will be a success in the home country of Louis Vuitton after its experiences in the rest of Europe.

“Primark is a follower of fashion and provides fashion at the best prices on the high street,” he said.

Primark already has deals to open a further four stores in France by Spring 2014, including three in the outskirts of Paris. The company plans to open 20 stores across Europe during the next 12 months.

Mr Bason said that Europe offer a “huge expansion opportunity”,

The most popular items at the Marseille store, opened by the mayor of the city, are expected to be a range of children’s pyjamas which cost €5 (£4.22), women’s skinny pencil jeans costing €8, and men’s hoodies priced at €12.

“The approach that Primark takes to each market is that we are essentially trialling. We trial various locations,” Mr Bason said. “The experience we’ve had gives us confidence [it will work].”

The Marseille store is based in the Grand Littoral shopping centre and covers 62,800 sq ft, a similar size to Primark’s average UK stores.


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