Primark finance director John Bason, questions fall in UK’s online clothing market

( via — Tue, 24th Jan 2023) London, UK —

The maturity of Britain's online clothing market should be questioned after its share retreated in the Christmas trading period, the finance chief of Primark's owner said on Tuesday.

“You've got to start to question the maturity now of online in the United Kingdom,” John Bason, finance director of Associated British Foods (ABF.L), told Reuters, highlighting a fall in online clothing's share of the market.

Primark does not trade online but is trialing a Click & Collect offer of children's products.

After two years of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, a feature of Christmas 2022 was a return of shoppers to physical stores.

“The way that Christmas has played out, the relevance of Primark is absolutely there … The numbers say it for us,” said Bason, noting Primark's UK sales growth of 15% in the Christmas quarter compared to growth of 5% in the wider market.

He said Primark's proposition of affordable prices and a store experience was proving increasingly appealing to both existing and new customers.

Reporting by James Davey