Primark, Europe’s destination for inexpensive trendy apparel, footwear and accessories, opened its first store in the US earlier this month. The 77,000-square-foot behemoth spans four floors in downtown Boston, clearing the mystery many American consumers (and retailers) have felt about the inexpensive fast fashion retailer.
Like its Oxford Street flagship in London, the Boston store offers a cross-category selection of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, home décor, fashion accessories and beauty products marketed under a variety of in-house labels, as well as a broad scope of fashion footwear. In total 530 mannequins and busts—many styled in head-to-toe looks with footwear displayed on adjacent shoe trees—bring to life the season’s must-have trends and silhouettes.
The majority of men’s and women’s footwear resides on the third floor, sharing space with lingerie and men’s apparel and accessories. For its US debut, Primark tapped into the omnipresent ’70s trend for women with chunky heels and platform shoes framing feature walls, endcaps, free-standing displays and aisle-long shelves. Meanwhile, ’90s-style grunge boots in olive, maroon, indigo, camel and black delivered a British punk vibe.
A selection of season-less ballet flats, loafers and pumps offers shoppers a chance to stock up on basics, though the majority of Primark’s footwear assortment leans toward fall staples and back-to-school classics, like suede booties, preppy oxfords and faux fur-lined boots.
Women’s footwear retails from $4 to $28. The majority of shoes are merchandised on color-coded hangers indicating size and are broken out by style. Other aisles are dedicated to wide-width styles.
Men’s shoes, available in full sizes seven to 13, span skate-inspired canvas lace-ups for $8 to chukka boots, Timberland look-a-likes and work-friendly oxfords for $22. Active footwear and sneakers retail between $12 and $16. Steps away from the shoe department customers can peruse several aisles of socks, ranging from everyday basics to performance and novelty fashion.
Upstairs on the fourth floor, boys’ and girls’ footwear for ages two to 13 closely mimic Primark’s adult offerings. Standout styles include boys’ fashion sneakers and brogues, and knee-high boots, ballet flats and sparkly cap-toe flats for girls.
Seven additional Primark stores are due in coming months, including locations in Danbury, CT, Staten Island, NY and King of Prussia, PA.