UK ‘Giant’ clothing store Primark made a grand total of £0 this month on the back of four weeks of closure, and over 60,000 furloughed staff due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Primark’s usual £650m months have plummeted to rock bottom due to their lack of diversified channels, in a world which is changing around them, and one of which they have ignored for many years.
With stores across the world forcibly closing due to the UK lockdown, Primark has been unable to sell any products due to its non existent online presence or diversified channels. In the past, the store has tried to justify this by saying it would not be able to keep prices low if home delivery were an option.
But, this in our eyes is an all too familiar phrase and string of excuses similar to that of brands and stores that we have seen fall at the hands of a digital first world over the past 18 months.
Primark however, like many physical stores have now had the shock which would have been inevitable regardless; adapt to e-commerce, or face a harsh reality check at some point.
Chief executive George Weston said: ‘ABF has been squarely in the path of this pandemic. At Primark we have 68,000 of our people receiving furlough payments from governments across Europe, without which we would have been forced to make most redundant.
‘From making sales of £650m each month, since the last of our stores closed on 22 March, we have sold nothing.’
With this highlighting how George Weston and his board have failed to acknowledge and take action on what it means to have a digital strategy, the company and their staff are now paying the price of an ‘adapt or die’ retail world.
George added: “In time we can rebuild the profits. We can’t replace the people we lose.”
Shortsightedness can prove to be a killer even at the best of times and when business is booming, however at this current time especially, the so-called-giants will face a harsh reality which could see many household names pay the ultimate price.
The value of diversification for brands and stores is becoming apparent, as it always will when it becomes too late, but always pushed aside when times are good.
The question poised on Primark and their Directors is now this: Should we shift to e-commerce as a priority?
The answer, is undoubtedly so, but equally it took a worldwide pandemic for them to emerge out of a cave, and ask what should have been a question they answered with tenacity when they had an opportunity to thrive, rather than merely scrap to survive.