When will Penney’s offer online shopping?
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift for many consumers to online shopping and has been the final nail in the coffin of some big brands, including Debenhams.
Despite this, Ireland’s leading fast-fashion retailer Penneys (or Primark as it’s known in the rest of the world and at the corporate level) shunned e-commerce and stuck with its brick-and-mortar sales model. Not that he doesn’t have an online presence, he has 24 million active social media subscribers, according to CEO Paul Marchant, who gave a talk to retired entrepreneur of the year. EY in Killarney on Thursday.
In an interview with EY partner Roger Wallace, Marchant told Irish entrepreneurs the group remained “big fans” of bricks and mortar. “We have a very aggressive store opening plan for the next few years, we have added 25 stores to Covid, over a million square feet of retail space, in eight countries. We therefore continue to expand our bricks and mortar proposal and this will remain a priority on our agenda, ”he said.
“I’m being asked ‘Are you going to go online?’ question about 20 times a day. The point is that we have a very successful business, very profitable and a model that can be deployed in many markets and many countries and that is our main goal. However, we still recognize that if customer demands mean that we need to think about another path to market, we need to discuss it, be open-minded. But any change in strategy from bricks and mortar has to be genuinely gradual and improved, and until we can find a model that allows us to do that, we’ll stick with what we’re doing.
Penneys / Primark seems to be doing well, in this case. It will soon open in Sicily, which will be its 400th store in the world. And a business update last month from its parent group, Associated British Foods, noted that sales in the second half of its fiscal year are expected to be £ 3.4 billion (€ 4 billion) and that its margin Operating profit during the period will be greater than 10 percent.