Not so jolly: Why Prague’s flagship Primark won’t open in time for the holidays

The Irish discount fashion retailer had been expected to open in the second half of 2020.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 04.12.2020 09:46 (updated on 29.01.2021)

People who were planning to do some holiday shopping at Primark on Prague’s Wenceslas Square will be disappointed. The opening of the Central European flagship location of the Irish discount fashion chain has been pushed back to the start of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, Primark will lose out on on the strong holiday shopping season, when retailers of clothing, household goods, toys and electronics have the highest turnover of any time in the year.

The store had been set to open in the second half of 2020, but was prevented from doing so due to the first wave of pandemic restrictions imposed by the government.

The new opening date has not been announced. “We will publish more information, including a specific opening date, in the coming weeks," Kateřina Outlá from public relations agency Grayling, which represents Primark in the Czech Republic, told daily Hospodářské noviny.

Primark will occupy three floors in the recently completed multifunctional Flow Building on Wenceslas Square, built by developer Flow East. The building was originally called the Flower Building (Květinový dům). Construction on the building at Václavské náměstí 47 was finished in July.

The Flow building lit up in the Czech national colors on Nov. 17. (photo: Raymond Johnston – Expats.cz)
The Flow Building lit up in the Czech national colors on Nov. 17. (photo: Raymond Johnston – Expats.cz)

The fashion retailer will occupy all of the building’s retail space, and have a sales area of 4,700 square meters and a total area of 6,000 sqm. The rest of the space is for offices and parking. The building design comes from British architectural firm Chapman Taylor, with inspiration from the lines of St. Vitus’ Cathedral and images of burning candles and flowering plants.

Many Czechs have long been a fan of the Primark brand, and have taken buses across the border to shop. Those customers are expected to shift to the new Prague location once it opens.

“Customers from Bohemia and Moravia, who have been going to Dresden, Linz and Vienna until now, will start going to Prague because it will be a huge branch, which will be located in an interesting place and in a new building in the very center of Prague,” Jan Kotrbáček from the real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield, a partner of Primark in the Czech Republic, said previously.

Primark also plans to open a branch in Brno at the Olympia shopping center in 2022.

The retailer has more than 300 locations across Europe and North America. Most of them are in the UK, Spain and Ireland. It opened its first store in the CEE region on June 13, 2019, in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The company also announced the planned opening of stores in Poland and Slovakia.