European Fashion Retailer Primark to Open Boston Location in September

Posted August 24, 2015 by Jon Erik Christianson in Business

In Boston’s historic Burnham Building, home of the former Filene’s Basement, lives a new retail clothing tenant—Primark. For many Bostonians passing through Downtown Crossing on Summer Street, the recently-added cerulean signs are a portend of what’s yet to come.

Primark, though unfamiliar to many in the United States, is an Irish fashion retailer that’s a shopping staple throughout Europe. Since its Dublin founding in 1969, it has expanded to over 270 stores across multiple countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Australia.

Historically, it has been compared to stores like H&M, another popular European clothes retailer, which offer fashionable clothing at relatively more affordable prices. Primark sells clothing (also accessories, beauty supplies, and confectionery) under its own label, and also clothing bought from other manufacturers. The company is also known for rotating its stock regularly.

The upcoming Boston location, which is set to officially open on September 10th, will be Primark’s first location in the United States. The Downtown Crossing store will span four floors in its 77,000 square foot space, and will hopefully fill, literally and functionally, the gap left by Filene’s Basement’s exit in 2007.

According to the Boston Globe, Primark executives elected to build its first location in Boston thanks to the city’s location and high population of international students; this helps provide Primark with a partially built-in customer base. The new store will also add 500 new jobs to the city.

“We wanted to be in a cosmopolitan environment and Boston is a cosmopolitan and international city,” said Jose Luis Martinez de Larramendi, president of Primark US Corp, in the Boston Globe interview. “The building itself will be a mark for Primark and the city.”

Millennium Tower Boston & Burnham Building

The Burnham Building will be home to Primark and Roche Brothers. Photo courtesy of Millennium Partners.

To set itself apart from its European locations, the Boston Primark will also offer products exclusive to its United States locations and “editor’s picks” from their New York partner Refinery29. Despite its greater American influence, its lineup still looks to reflect Primark’s usual aesthetic. Its general style emphasizes structure, subtle color contrasts, and sophistication. Clothing is accessible to clientele of varying ages, sizes, and preferences—this includes children and families.

Primark’s new home, the Burnham Building, is the core location of a sprawling, $700 million renovation project led by Millennium Partners, the architects behind Millennium Tower Boston. The project seeks to renew and energize Downtown Crossing’s retail, social, and cultural experience.

Boston, however, is not Primark’s only upcoming New England location. In partnership with Sears, Primark will be joining the Burlington Mall in Burlington and the South Shore Plaza in Braintree; it will be sharing space with Sears at both of those mall locations.

Additionally, Primark expects to have at least nine stores throughout the country open by the end of 2016. Future locations include New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Fortunately for Bostonians, Primark chose our fair city to be its entry point into the competitive U.S. market, giving us the first opportunity to see for ourselves what all the hype is about.