Why is Primark moving into eCommerce with Asos.com?

Earlier this month, one of the UK’s biggest high street fashion brands, Primark, announced it was to begin exploring eCommerce opportunities through a partnership with internet specialist Asos.com.
The move was initially described as a “trial” and a “fact-finding mission” that would last a few months and centre primarily on a limited selection of products.
It came as a surprise to many people, as just a couple of months earlier, chief executive of Primark’s parent company Associated British Foods George Weston appeared to rule out a move into the online space, noting: “It is enough for us to have great fashion in good locations at the right price. That simply works for us.”
However, it seems even a brand determined to maintain its image as a high street first retailer can’t ignore the opportunities offered by eCommerce forever. This is especially when rivals such as New Look are setting up improved online platforms and several companies that were slow to embrace internet shopping – such as Jessops and HMV – have struggled recently.
Therefore, it’s clear that even successful names such as Primark – which reported a 24 per cent increase in sales in its latest results – have to accept that bricks-and-mortar only is no longer a viable strategy in an increasingly connected society.
And it seems that the trial is already seeing success, as since launching through Asos.com’s online platform, the service has seen huge demand.
Chief executive of Asos Nick Robertson told Reuters: “The response has been phenomenal,” adding: “Clearly there’s a very high demand for Primark products among our customer group; and with the internet increasingly being the preferred channel of purchase, those customers are missing out if Primark isn’t online.”
In fact, such has been the response, Primark has already decided to increase the number of product lines offered online from 20 SKUs to 140.
This success is a clear illustration of the huge difference having an online platform can make to any retail business. And with Asos.com announcing a 45 per cent rise in year-on-year sales at the same time, there’s no excuse not to be taking advantage of these opportunities.
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