Irish fast-fashion retailer Primark has opened its first US flagship in Boston's Downtown Crossing shopping district.
Spread over four floors, the 77,000 sq ft store, designed by British retail specialists Dalziel + Pow, inhabits the former home of department store Filenes – a fact paid homage to via a mural detailing its heritage. Other nods to local culture include a bespoke 'Hello Boston' neon entry sign and a storefront installation by students from Boston's MassArt School.
The tech-meets-industrial interior (original features include terracotta ceilings and exposed brickwork) firmly caters to high-volume sales, with 84 fitting rooms, 73 till points and 530 mannequins. A 1,000 sq ft shop-in-shop called the 'Trends Room' calls out key pieces, while high-definition LED screens show images of the brand's global collections.
While it has a website, Primark currently has no e-commerce arm, and is subsequently banking on social media to drive footfall. Signs encourage visitors to take photos and upload them with the hashtag #Primania to the brand's user-generated image platform of the same name – facilitated by free wi-fi and charging stations (see Commuter Commerce for more on this).
George Watson, CEO of Primark's parent company Associated British Food, cited Boston's prominent Irish population and college students as the motivation for choosing the city. Eight to 10 more US stores are expected to open by the end of 2016, with locations including Staten Island, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.