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CONNECT RETAIL: Fast-Fashion Dominating Apparel Retail

Connect Retail is our weekly column on the sector, authored by veteran CRE writer Ian Ritter.

Another fast-fashion apparel chain from Europe is setting its sites on the U.S. in a big way.

Primark, based in Ireland, is rapidly expanding throughout the East Coast, with its first opening last fall in Boston. Most of these are in, or coming to, well-know retail properties, and replacing former Sears stores. Three Primarks are now open, and 10 should be in operation by 2018, with more certainly on the way.

This is just the latest example of fast-fashion retailers from Europe, such as H&M, of Sweden; Zara, from Spain; and U.K.-based Topshop making a big splash in the United States. Along with them is the major growth of Los Angeles-based Forever 21 over the last few years.

And with department-store closures abound of late, as well as inline apparel tenants, such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale in trouble, this is a welcome development for retail real estate landlords looking for ways to fill up those vacancies.

There is a reason why consumers flock to fast fashion. A recent Morgan Stanley study showed that Primark’s prices are 202-percent less that the average retailer selling apparel in the United States. Primark even beats out Walmart.

Do you think fast-fashion outlets like these will become more of the norm in retail’s apparel sector?


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