By Stephen Ardern

Primark’s success lies clearly in one area. They totally understand their customers.

The high street’s dead, they said. Retail won’t survive.

Yet, there’s one fashion retailer that has bucked the trend. They’re not only surviving, but they’re also thriving. With sector-leading growth in sales, seven new store openings across Europe, three relocations in the UK and big plans to conquer America, it’s clear Primark is winning.

How have they managed it? Online? Click and collect? Not a chance.

Primark’s success lies clearly in one area. They totally understand their customers.

Through a period of constant change and biting austerity, Primark has considered their place on the high street extremely carefully. By successfully building a bridge to unite cheap and chic, Primark has single-handedly democratised fashion to make it something accessible to everyone.

Offering collections that are not just affordable, but absolutely on trend, has been key. It has helped break down fashion snobbery to make Primark the shopping destination.

With customer attitudes continuously evolving, Primark understands the new discerning customer better than most brands. Customers want more from the brands they buy, they want relevant experiences that fit in with their lives. Life’s hectic and constantly changing, and today's consumer attitude reflects just that. The discerning customer makes a clear choice, am I going to spend time, or save time?

Primark embraces this idea perfectly. Shopping in their stores is accessible, immediate, functional. The customer doesn’t need to save up, there’s always something affordable. It’s simple, fast-fashion that saves the customer time to find the must-have essentials for their wardrobe.

The brand communicates in the same way. Messaging isn’t verbose or over-engineered. Imagery is inclusive and representative. It’s instant and reflective of the customer. The aim is to encourage and represent everyone. In last year's Christmas campaign, this was at the heart of the brief. How do you make Christmas relevant and modern? Not cliche and unachievable.

The danger here is if Primark decides to emulate some of their competitors and over-develop the in-store experience. Although this approach may add to the overall customer experience, if it slows the customer down, it could reflect similarly in sales.

Primark empowers everyone with fast, affordable fashion choices and this has been critical to the brand's success. They’re disruptive, cheeky and relevant, making it a growing force in the world of high street fashion and paradoxical in today’s retail landscape.

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