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The industry's thoughts on Primark's Italian debut

By Vivian Hendriksz


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Irish value fashion retailer opened its debut store in Arese Milan, Italy to much fanfare on Thursday. An online video tour of the store received over 141.000 views on Facebook alone the first night it was posted, highlighting the retailer's ongoing appeal. It's foray into Italy marks Primark's entry into its tenth European market, and with the fast fashion retailer slated to open its second store in Campi Bisenzio, Florence, in 2017 it shows little signs of slowing down. But what does the industry have to say on Primark's arrival in Italy? FashionUnited took a moment to speak to two industry insiders to hear their thoughts on the matter.

"The opening of Primark is gaining a lot of attention because it is a novelty here in Italy and because it is a company well known in the markets where it is present," said Andreas Schmeidler, Country Manager for Italy for vente-privee.com. "No doubt the clamor around it also comes from the value proposition of the brand, customers are curious to know if the offers are suitable and affordable. This confirms that today the offer, seen both as content as well as price, it's still one of the most important purchase drivers. The new trend of commerce, bringing together online and offline, sees the customer and their needs increasingly placed at the centre of the buying experience."

Massimiliano Bizzi, founder of White, one of the most international fashion trade fairs in Italy added that Primark's appeal likely stems from "the affordable price." "But I would also add their freshness of design as well, which is definitely the origin of so much attention from the Italian market, without forgetting the news factor affecting the initial amount of attention."

When asked what impact Primark may have on the overall market share of Italian fashion, Schmeidler replied: "I do not think these new openings will do harm. Instead it is important that fashion companies take into consideration their relevancy to the current scenario and future, in which the customer becomes the focal point. In an era where there is no difference made between a purchase made online or in store, it will be critical for companies offering Made in Italy to place focus once more on customer service. And all this must occur in all spectrums of the market, from luxury retailers to low cost."

However, for Bizzi, Primark will "absorb some of the customers, as already has happened with the arrival of H&M and Zara, which has seen a shift in consumers of fast fashion. But it is definitely not going to affect the very essence of Made in Italy, the raw material quality, design originality and high craftsmanship."

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