On a Wednesday evening, the late-night streets of a usually bustling Downtown Crossing were eerily calm, but giant neon-blue signs illuminated the darkness with one word: PRIMARK. On the eve of the highly anticipated Grand Opening, the buzz in the air was palpable as passer-bys stopped and gawked into the windows with curiosity and confusion, “What is this ‘Primark’ and is that sweater REALLY $14.00?!”
Lets go back. In 1912, Retail mogul Filenes opened a flagship location in the Burnham Building located in the heart of Boston’s pulsing Downtown crossing district. Filenes “Automatic Bargain Basement” in particular was a shopping destination for bargainistias worldwide. There was simply no place like it. Before the days of mass manufacturing, coupon clipping, and seasonal sales galore, The Basement was a treasure trove of authentic designer wear at real discount prices. It was a thrill to rummage through heaps and racks of clothing never knowing what you might find; Such a craze that Women didn’t even seem to care that there were no walls in the dressing room!! Sadly, Filenes ultimately succumbed to ongoing financial and economical hardships and closed her doors for good in 2007. The beloved Boston Landmark has remained void since.
8 years and 1 recession later, on Thursday September 10, 2015, Irish retailer Primark (AKA Penneys) opened its first U.S. location in the same space Filenes stood for over 95 years. The newly developed store features 4 floors and 77,000 sq ft of space filled with apparel and accessories for women, men, and children as well as home furnishings. In a city deeply rooted in Irish people and culture, what better a place than Boston?
With it’s high volume inventory of on-trend styles at shockingly low prices, Primark greatly appeals to today’s cost-conscious customer. Although the idea of excess consumption and dispensability throughout today’s “fast-fashion” retail culture raises much debate, Primark has proven itself successful with over 270 stores across Ireland, UK and Europe. As stylists (and clothing junkies in general), we are excited to have something new and fresh on the Boston retail scene for ourselves, as well as our clients. We’re also thrilled to see Downtown Boston come alive again! We can’t wait check out what Primark has in store, but perhaps we’ll wait until the line dies down…
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