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Truworths to launch value clothing chain Primark

South African retailer Truworths is launching a new value fashion chain called Primark - no relation to the international retailer of the same name. Truworths plans to open approximately 15 Primark stores over the next few months, with an average store size of 100m² during the launch trial phase. These will be a mix of standalone stores and others located in existing Truworths-owned stores.

Shoppers walk past a Truworths shop with advertisements on its windows at the Sandton shopping mall in Johannesburg, file. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

The launch of Primark suggests that Truworths – which also owns Identity, YDE, Uzzi and Earthchild – hopes to tap into the growth opportunities present in the budget clothing market focused on lower-income consumers.

Subdued economic growth and the financial impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumers are driving a retail preference for value purchases over premium goods. Nedbank's Tasmika Ramlakan stated that this has been especially evident in the clothing category, where value players such as Mr Price and Pepkor have generally performed better than their mid-market and premium competitors.

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In its interim results report, Truworths said that the new Primark brand will offer "good quality at great value and highly competitive prices yet reasonable margins", and will be strategically aligned with "suppliers that can react and respond with short lead times". The merchandise mix will focus on carrying a wide range of volume basic and coordinated fashion items that are seasonally appropriate, and available in multiple colourways.

In terms of brand positioning, Truworths said that Primark will be a youthful, fashionable, commercial and aspirational value-brand, with an energetic and vibrant store experience to reflect these qualities. The company added that Primark will depict "a strong sense of current social values", including local production, sustainability, recycling, charity and community involvement.

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Truworths will also be launching Fuel, which it described as a young progressive casual brand with a streetwear edge. Just like Primark, Fuel stores will exist both as a standalone format and as a shop-within-a-shop, with 20 stores planned to open within the next few months.

"There is a focus on cool, commercial and trendy product. The range is bought deep and narrow with the logo being clearly distinct and visible on all garments. The brand has a good perception of excellent value and good quality. Quick response and local production will drive a significant portion of this range to capitalise on focused product offering with enhanced speed-to-market," said Truworths.
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