Primark won't offer e-commerce in the US

Irish retailer Primark opened its first U.S. location in Boston this week in a space that was once the famous Filene's Basement. However, the chain will not include an e-commerce launch for U.S. shoppers.

The 77,000 sq. ft. location will sell apparel, accessories and home items at discounted prices. While shoppers can browse the selection on Primark's website, they will not be able to purchase items online, MarketWatch reported. At this time, the retailer has no plans to ever introduce e-commerce, as there are no online shopping offerings at its home market in the U.K. either. 

However, the website does offer social media links so that visitors can share items and recommend products to friends.

"Social media has driven awareness of the brand internationally in Europe," a Primark spokesman told MarketWatch. The company has locations in Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, among others.

The shying away from e-commerce seems odd during a time when most U.S. retailers are focused on an omnichannel experience, combining both online and off-line. The absence of this retail channel could cost Primark sales since it will not be able to operate 24 hours a day. That being said, e-commerce is a lot of work and pricey for consumers, especially when the costs of shipping, handling and returns are added up. With Primark's low prices, perhaps the retailer can't afford to get in the e-commerce game.

According to Simeon Siegel, a senior retail analyst at Nomura, it is possible to sell items that are in high demand at the right price and convince customers to come into a store. Research from Nomura found that shoppers are willing to go to a physical store for items they really want. However, many are accustomed to shopping from the comfort of home.

-See this MarketWatch article

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