Primark’s sensational success could be dented by the loss of half its winter stock in a warehouse blaze. An estimated £50m of clothes went up in flames, raising the prospect that its 120 shops will run short of jumpers, skirts and coats.
The retailer’s troubles may prove fortuitous for rivals such as Next and New Look, who will try to lure away its customers. Competitors who have tried to cut back on Christmas orders may find that Primark can take up the slack and buy surplus good from suppliers.
Primark, owned by Associated British Foods, was yesterday frantically trying to secure new clothes by airfreight or trucks. Luckily it’s covered for the cost of stock, and insurer Zuric will pay out for any other disruption caused. However the chain will be desperate not to annoy shoppers with empty shelves before Christmas.
Its huge warehouse in Lutterworth Leicestershire, has been completely destroyed.
The depot is owned and operated by TNT. The cause of the fire is unknown. David Stoddard, at Tether and Greenwood says: “It is not the Christmas Primark would have planned for but they ought to be able to sort themselves out. They’ll take stock wherever they can get it”.
He reckons that this could get the other retails out of a hole because they will have already ordered a lot of stock they do not need. Primark was unable to give details of which garments it had lost.
A spokesman said, “This can be about as bad as it can be, but the contingency plan is up and running and we are working very hard. We have already spoken to our suppliers, and TNT has moved locations and is receiving and dispatching stock”.
ABF shrugged off concerns with shares rising 16½p to 804½p.