I work in the world’s biggest Primark – there’s a time to visit if you want the newest stuff and secret sales rails too | The Sun

I work in the world’s biggest Primark – there’s a time to visit if you want the newest stuff and secret sales rails too | The Sun


BOASTING a staggering 160k square feet of merchandise spread over five floors, walking into the world's largest Primark in Birmingham can be overwhelming.

For customers they're so spoilt for choice they often don't know where to begin – and it takes a whopping 700-strong team of workers to keep everything ticking over smoothly.

One of those employees is Leanne Halliday, 32, who has worked for Primark for over 15 years, and is now senior department manager in the lingerie department.

She helped with the opening of the world’s biggest Primark on Birmingham High Street in 2019, and will be going to New York where Primark has recently opened four new stores to help with training.

15,000 steps a day & secret spaces

Even for Leanne, it was initially hard to get her head around the sheer scale of the store – and now, four years on, she's still not convinced she's seen the whole site herself.

She says: "The store has the full range of our products all under one roof whereas smaller stores will get a selection tailored to the local customer and their needs.

"It's also home to three cafes – our Disney Café, Primarket Café, and the world’s largest Greggs too.

"We have a beauty salon, and a barber for those looking for a new haircut or manicure to go with their new outfits, and we are also one of only three stores to have a vintage concession in partnership with WornWell, which is very popular for those looking for something a bit different.

"It was overwhelming when I first started, but now I’m used to the size of the store. When I’ve visited other Primark stores, they feel small to me.

"With such a big space, I’m sure there’s several rooms that even I don’t know about yet!

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"I easily do over 15,000 steps per day walking around the shop floor."

Customers from all over the world

Unsurprisingly, the store gets customers from all over the world visiting the store.

Leanne says: "We have coach trips of shoppers who get dropped off in the morning and picked up later in the afternoon who come from all over the UK.

"We also have a lot of international tourists who often visit our luggage department first to pick up a new suitcase, and then fill it to the brim with their Primark purchases to take home.

"Customers are often overwhelmed when they first enter the Primark Birmingham High Street store and astounded by the size of it – they don’t know where to start!

"It would be very easy to spend all day in the store as there’s so many floors to explore, as well as our cafes and concessions."

Top tips

For the best shopping experience, Leanne recommends heading to the store first thing.

She says: "Early in the morning is the best time to come and shop.

"We open at 8am on weekdays so from then until 11am are the quietest hours.

"Sunday mornings are also relatively quiet.

"Shopping in the morning is also best as we get our new stock in overnight, meaning customers who get there early can get their hands on our latest products first.

"If they’re very popular, sometimes we will have sold out by lunchtime and new shipments won’t arrive until the following day.

"We get deliveries of new stock daily which we put out onto the shop floor before opening, and we will also move stock around to keep the space fun, fresh and interesting to inspire our customers with new ideas and new looks.

"Customers should also look out for the red signs on the rails if they want to find discounted items."

Celeb sightings

For Leanne, no day is the same, and no two customers are the same either.

She says: "There’s one customer that came in in a full Greggs outfit from top to toe – including hat, hoodie, joggers and clogs – and ordered a sausage roll in the world’s largest Greggs.

"That was quite a sight to see!

"I’ve also had a request from a bride who was looking to get her hands on bits from our hen party range such as t-shirts, slippers and sashes for over 50 guests!

"We will always try and go the extra mile for our customers where we can, so I helped her find all the goodies over a couple of days, so she was ready for her party.

"We’ve hosted a few celebrities in Birmingham High Street, but a standout for me was Gemma Collins – she was lovely!

"The two most common questions I get asked are 'where are the toilets?', and 'where are the tights?'"

Popular products

The store's most popular products change seasonally but Leanne is always surprised by the power of social media.

Leanne says: "In previous years, products such as our heatless hair curlers, our colourful storage crates, our seam-free sets, our corset tops, and our velvet plush leggings have all been sellout products as customers raved about them on Instagram and TikTok.

"Sometimes a garment or accessory that I haven’t even noticed will suddenly go out of stock after trending on social media and customers will race to get their hands on them.

"One product I remember customers going crazy for was our gold bar cart that came out a couple of years ago – we had people asking if we could hold stock for them, and customers queuing outside the store before opening so they could be first in to grab one!

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"Basics such as jersey t-shirts and cargo pants are also popular all year round, and some of our beauty products such as powder puffs and cream contour wands have also been a big hit.

"We’ve also seen an increase in sales of cold weather items like hot water bottles, fleece pyjamas and our famous snuddies as
people look to keep warm and reduce their heating bills."

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