Primark released a new US website where consumers can browse items and check what's in stock — but not shop.

Primark just launched an updated U.S. website, but it still won’t sell items online. 

The U.K.-based retailer says the website will display thousands of products along with “a fresh design, enhanced navigation, and a brand-new feature that allows customers to check stock availability and size in their local Primark store,” per Primark’s statement from May 17.

A virtual shop with no checkout

Primark is intentionally avoiding a traditional ecommerce business model, according to a press release. The website will “better connect the journey between searching online and then shopping in stores,” Primark said. The retailer refers to the website as a “virtual shop,” though there is no option to make purchases.

“Our ranges showcase our strong commitment to value, something we know matters more than ever to our customers right now,” Primark U.S. president Kevin Tulip said in a statement. “And our website will help us to shine a spotlight on the breadth of fashionable and affordable choices available in our stores across the United States — particularly as we continue to grow and open up new stores in new markets across the country.”

Primark says that not implementing ecommerce allows it to save money on logistics that can be reflected in lower prices.


The retailer debuted the new website in the U.K., Ireland, Spain and Germany before the U.S. launch. Web traffic increased 60% to 100% year over year, said George Weston, CEO of parent company AB Foods, in an April earnings call. About 20% of site visitors use the stock checker function. “We think that [it] is driving footfall into stores and we really are very pleased with the impact the new site is having,” Weston said.

Primark tested BOPIS

Primark has stepped into ecommerce before, but only slightly. In late 2022, the retailer tested a buy-online-pick-up-in-store function at 25 U.K. stores. The test was small, and only available for children’s clothing. Primark’s website crashed within a few hours of the launch, Reuters reported

The click-and-collect trial, as Primark refers to it, went “sufficiently well” to another 32 stores in the U.K., Weston said in the same earnings call. Primark is seeing promising basket sizes and a lower return rate than expected, he said.

Primark floundered during the pandemic

Primark’s aversion to adopting ecommerce was a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic. The retailer lost an estimated £540 million ($673 million) in a single quarter as sales fell and stores closed, The Financial Times reported.


Despite the new website and BOPIS tests, Primark isn’t considering fully embracing ecommerce. “At our price points and our basket sizes [online] doesn’t just take some of the margin; it takes all of it,” Weston told The Financial Times. 

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