BEHIND THE SEAMS
Luca Ciuffreda, Director of Sales in Italy, discusses Primark’s exciting growth journey in Italy, as we commit to opening five new stores across the market
This week I am delighted to share some very exciting news in Italy. We have announced plans to open five new stores across the country. The openings will include an investment of €50 million in Italy and will mean that we will be growing our store footprint in the country to 20 stores.
We’re really proud of this accomplishment. We opened our first store in Arese in 2016, almost 8 years ago, and since then we have grown from strength to strength – with no intention of slowing down! Already we have 15 stores across Italy and have grown our team to 4,500 Primark Italy colleagues. Over the next few years we will open five new stores. Four of these stores will be in new cities for us: Porta a Mare shopping centre (Livorno); Metropolis shopping centre, Rende (Cosenza); Maximall shopping centre, Pontecagnano Faiano (Salerno), as well as a new city centre store in Genoa. Last year we opened a store in Turin’s Le Gru shopping centre, and we are looking forward to opening a second store in Turin when we open in the To Dream shopping centre.
I joined Primark in 2016 when I opened our first store in Italy. Since then, I have worked in a number of roles across the business, from Store Manager to Head of Sales, before taking up the role of Director of Primark Italy more recently. Over the last few years, the fashion sector has lived through the Covid-19 pandemic, high inflation and an ever-changing geopolitical landscape. I have seen many changes both in our business and also across the wider sector, but one thing that has remained consistent is Primark’s commitment to offering more sustainable fashion at affordable prices.
Italy is a country that is synonymous with fashion. Milan, the fashion capital of the world. Italian fashion admired all over the world. Tourists visiting Italy every year to shop on one of our many fashion high streets. I am often asked why Primark is so popular in Italy. I think the answer is very simple: Italian shoppers love Primark’s offering of the latest trends and everyday essentials at affordable prices. Our affordability means that everyone can take part in the fun of fashion.
We also work really hard to make sure that our stores are places that everyone feels welcome. They are places where our customers can walk through the doors and have fun, enjoying our latest fashion offerings. People can come to our stores and shop with their friends and family and have a great day out. They can be inspired by our trend rooms and enjoy some of our fun and innovative products, like our license collections products and our Snuddie. We have colleagues who enjoy coming to work, are proud of their stores and create a welcoming environment. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this shopping experience? Our five new stores will be no different and we will continue to create inclusive environments where our customers enjoy the experience of our stores and our colleagues enjoy coming to work. Our new stores will take inspiration from the latest retail innovations and Italian style and architecture. They will have LED lighting, and will also be the first stores in Italy to feature self-service checkouts, meaning that customers can look forward to enjoying additional speed and convenience during their store visits.
Opening new stores across Italy is about more than just another store. It is about creating employment in local communities. It is about growing our business and reaching more customers. It is about bringing more sustainable fashion at affordable prices to even more customers in Italy. Just last week we published our second Sustainability and Ethics Progress Report and I am proud to share that 55% of Primark clothes sold this year contained recycled or more sustainably sourced materials, up from 45% last year. As well as that, our award-winning Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme (PSCP) has celebrated its 10th anniversary, with almost 300,000 farmers trained in more sustainable farming methods – surpassing the target of 275,000 farmers by the end of 2023. As consumers continue to prioritise value, we are standing by our promise to offer more sustainable affordable fashion to everyone.
But new stores and all of this progress are only possible through the work of our great team. I am so proud of the 4,500 colleagues who make up our Primark Italy family and who serve our customers every day. We take very seriously the training and development of our internal teams so that they can grow as leaders within our business and have an amazing career in retail at Primark. We pride ourselves on internal progression and creating opportunities for our teams and where possible, we promote internally. All of this makes Primark a special place to work, something we are very proud of. That’s why I am delighted that we continue to grow our teams and as part of our expansion plans, we will be creating 600 new jobs across Italy.
At Primark, we are always evolving. We strive to continuously improve as an employer, to reach more customers and continue to enhance our offering. We will continue to offer our customers quality products that are accessible and affordable, in stores that provide a great customer experience. And we remain focused on our commitments to become a circular and more sustainable business. Today as we are celebrating our growth plans in Italy, I would like to thank all of our customers and our colleagues for their loyalty over the years. We look forward to continuing this journey in Italy over the coming years.
Director Primark Italy