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"Adapt, Or Face Extinction": What Primark Did Right

In their March 2021 video article, posted on their official YouTube Channel, The Economist stated that businesses have to “adapt or face extinction”. During this video report, the example of the tragic loss of high-street-staple, Debenhams, although the topic of such a significant loss for the high-street was not touched on directly.

What has many confused is how a store like Debenhams can crack and crumble under the pressures of the pandemic, but Primark has still managed to thrive.

Primark, as many begrudging consumers are surely aware of right now, has a website, where you can gain some information about branch opening times etc. however, you cannot purchase any stock from it. This, of course, lead to great frustrations to many during the months of Tiers and Lockdowns throughout the UK. But, despite this, they have not been in the same position as their competitor, Debenhams; struggling to stay afloat during this period of crisis, and inevitably drowning.

No, what Primark managed to do upon their brief stints of reopening in the latter phases of 2020, was simple. In order to attempt to acquire significant amounts of lost revenue amidst lockdowns, was to use their lack of a basket on their website to further customer demand. People are reluctant to go out of their way to purchase a four-pack of socks from another retailer for at least £5 GBP, when there’s the option of Primark. Weathered and worn clothes made by nation-favourite Primark were just about able to survive the extra wear, unable to be replaced. And, in order to rectify the semblance of loss from their consumers, Primark decided to launch a 24-Hour-Opening-Times scheme on Friday and Saturday, meaning that their young school-age employees would still be able to partake in their studies, but also have the option for some much-sought overtime.

By opening for 24 Hours, and paying their staff more for the night-shift and overtime, Primark were able to claw back some significant revenue. The nation flocked through the doors to do battle over 99p thongs and fluffy socks, many leaving the store having spent hundreds of pounds on purchasing items they needed to replace, whether that be threadbare trainers, leggings that had been worn see-through between the thighs, socks that were more hole than they were sock, or, the much needed essentials of face-wipes, getting skin readjusted to the care it was used to pre-lockdown.

Despite not having a website, Primark was still competitive. With their capacity to release fast-fashion under quick turnarounds, and an arsenal of employees hungry for overtime after being on furlough and docked wages for so long, they were able to retain a sense of yearning from the masses and subsequently achieve significant boosts in revenue during these 24-Hour stints.

If you are interested in innovating, and implementing agile practice in your workplace, you can contact Arvind via the following email address to book a consultation:

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