Who's the CEO of Primark?

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ceo primark

From its humble beginnings in 1969 Ireland, Primark – or Penneys, as it was originally called, and is still called in Ireland – has grown to become an internationally recognised chain of high street stores that sell clothing for children and adults, accessories, beauty products, homeware and confectionary. Primark has established a presence across Europe and the US with a network of over 350 stores in 11 different countries. Today, the business employs more than 69,000 people and constantly refreshes its product offering.

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CEO Primark

Although Primark has been around for 50 years, it has only ever had two Chief Executive Officers. The first was Arthur Ryan, who founded Penneys back in the sixties. He has overseen the brand since it consisted of just one store on Mary Street in Dublin, where the headquarters are based today.

The current CEO is Paul Marchant, who took over the role in September 2009. Now, he has led the brand for a decade, during which he has boosted its profitability and secured its place in the crowded retail market.

Before becoming CEO, Marchant filled the position of Chief Operating Officer of New Look Retail Group. However, he has an extensive history of leadership roles in the clothing industry, having acted as Trading Director for Clothing at Debenhams and occupied buying roles at River Island and Topman. As COO of New Look Retail Group, Marchant observed Primark’s increasing UK presence, as it gradually launched stores in prime retail locations. In 2009, he decided to join the brand as COO.

It was only a matter of months later that Primark’s CEO, Ryan became Chair of the company, leaving Marchant to fill his boots. Before this happened, the two worked closely together to ensure that the switch in leadership roles would be in the interest of business growth. Once the change had taken place, Ryan worked to support Marchant in his new role, making sure that he was equipped with all the necessary skills to carry out the job to the best of his abilities.

Paul Marchant’s Influence

There is little doubt that Marchant has developed the Primark brand for the better. As consumers started to turn from high street stores to their screens to find the latest trends, there were fears that Primark would not survive. While it does operate a website that showcases its product offering, Primark only sells clothes in physical stores, so consumers are forced to venture out to the high street if they are to benefit from the retail giant’s bargains.

However, Primark’s physical stores do not seem to have suffered as other stores have. In fact, when Marchant became Primark’s CEO in 2009, there were 187 stores worldwide. Today, there are 360, demonstrating his ability to successfully grow the brand and reach out to more consumers in more territories. In 2019, Primark intends to increase its selling space in Europe by one million square feet. In the next two years, it aims to open new stores in New Jersey and Florida in the US, to make a total of 11 US Primark stores.

Of course, this significant growth probably wouldn’t have been possible had the business not improved its offering over the years. To keep up with the online retailers, Primark encouraged its customers to keep coming back by regularly renovating existing Primark stores so that they remained modern and fresh. It also introduced free Wi-Fi and customer seating. What’s more, it incorporated coffee shops into 17 of its stores and beauty stations into eight, as well as food and beverage options in all new and refurbished stores.

The popularity of the brand is clear to see, as it has cultivated a following of almost 14 million customers across its social media platforms.

Primark’s Growth

Let’s talk numbers. Just in case new stores and social media followers didn’t convince you, Primark’s success is also demonstrated in its profitability. In the year leading up to September 2018, Primark’s revenue rose by 6 percent to £7.5 billion, while profits increased by 15 percent to £843 million. This is because sales grew by 5.3 percent throughout the year.


Primark Gender Equality

Primark’s parent company, Associated British Foods (ABF) has been praised in recent years for working towards gender equality in its leadership team. It has been recognised as one of the top ten most improved FTSE 100 businesses in terms of the number of women on the Board of Directors. Although the company had an all-male board in 2010, it had taken on two women by 2014, meaning that women made up 22 percent of the leadership team. Despite working to raise this number, there are still just two women on ABF’s Board of Directors today.

Primark Franchise

Because Primark is a hugely successful retailer in the fashion industry at the moment, many entrepreneurs are interested in fostering a partnership with the company. Unfortunately, all Primark stores are company-owned at the moment, and it does not operate a franchise model. While you may be excited to get involved in the thriving business, take care as you research opportunities, as Primark has launched a warning to prospective franchisees and business partners. It states that a third party has been offering Primark franchises to keen entrepreneurs, so don’t be tricked into investing in a scam franchise.

But don’t be disheartened. There are plenty of profitable franchise opportunities in the retail industry, not only in the clothing sector, but in areas such as food, technology and homeware too. Just click on the link to find out more. Alternatively, take a look at Point Franchise’s directory to find franchises across a range of sectors. If you’ve got the drive and passion to run your own business, there’s a franchise waiting for you.

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