An Exclusive First Look at the New Philly-Area Primark Opening Tomorrow

Just what we've come to know and love from the brand — big, clean and inexpensive.

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Outside Primark Willow Grove. | Photography by Lauren McGrath.

There are lots of reasons to get excited about another Primark opening in the area — it’s trendy, super affordable, and is revitalizing spaces where many a Sears once stood. Sure, you may not be investing in any lifetime wardrobe workhorses here, but hey, you get what you pay for. The Irish brand is great for cheap basics, cute home accessories, and has an excellent children’s department (because no one should spend an arm and a leg on a onesie that won’t even fit in a month).

We’ve been tracking Primark’s openings in the Philly area since Primark KOP opened its doors last September — a location that’s drummed up a lot of buzz. However, we can’t help but get excited that the new Willow Grove Mall store is opening up, partially because 60 percent of Shoppist writers live within ten minutes of the mall, but also because it’s ever so slightly closer to the city than the KOP location. Pennsylvania’s second Primark opens tomorrow, July 19th at 11 am at the Willow Grove Mall — and we got an exclusive first look inside. 

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So many shoes. | Photo by Lauren McGrath.

Packed into 58,600 square feet on two floors in what used to be Sears (they brokered a deal with the struggling department store to take over some of their retail spaces in the US), Primark Willow Grove is extremely similar in layout and vibe to their King of Prussia location. The store is separated into neatly organized “shops,” with departments for womenswear, accessories, beauty, home, and shoes on the massive ground floor, as well as menswear and children’s on the second.

Lauren McGrath

Inside the fitting rooms. | Photo by Lauren McGrath.

They’ve clearly made customer experience their number one priority, with 59 fitting rooms, 48 registers, free wifi and charging stations, all meant to create as smooth a shopping experience as possible. The brand’s Pennsylvania distribution center is located in Bethlehem, which means that new styles and sizes are arriving in-store daily. Prices range anywhere from a $0.65 for a candle (!) to a $58 suitcase (their most expensive item), with basics routinely clocking in around $4.

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Photo by Lauren McGrath.

Primark’s hook is definitely its pricing (who can say no to $11 leggings?), but items that cheap definitely won’t withstand the test of time. Case in point: Blouses, while cute and work appropriate, probably need to be layered in order to prevent a dreaded see-through bra situation in the office.

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Photo by Lauren McGrath.

Each “shop” is further broken down into trend rooms, featuring styled mannequins (there are 275 in the entire store) flanked by their components — perfect for “see it, grab it, and go” shoppers.

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Photo by Lauren McGrath.

Primark loves to bill itself as a family-friendly retailer, and this attitude particularly shines on the second floor. Neatly separated into section for boys, girls, men’s casual and men’s formal, you can really appreciate how the brand adapts to for each of theses markets. The children’s section is chock full of affordable multipacks of tees and undies for kids of all ages, and men’s casual is the stuff of a graphic tee-lover’s dreams.

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The detailing! | Photo by Lauren McGrath.

Every so often, a particular item will make you say “Wow, how is it this cheap?” — not because of the price (because everything is super affordable), but rather for the artful detailing. For only $22, these brown faux leather brogues far exceed their price with their sharp, clean design and interior stitching detail.

Lauren McGrath

Photo by Lauren McGrath.

While the Willow Grove location’s home and gift section isn’t nearly as big as the one at KOP (sigh), it’s still certainly worth a look. College students everywhere should make a beeline to the dorm decorations and knick knacks. With fairy lights going for about $3.50, $7 cheeky decorative pillows and uber-soft $20 throw blankets, you won’t blow your budget on decorations.

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Photo by Lauren McGrath.

The unsung hero of the Primark Willow Grove location is by far the employee break room in the back. Instead of the dingy break rooms all retail veterans know too well, the Primark employee lounge is light and airy, courtesy of custom-built skylights, artfully placed bowls of fruits, and punchy accent colors throughout. With 236 employees and 18 supervisors coming from 17 different stores around the globe (seriously, so many cool accents), it’s a pretty big crew over at Primark Willow Grove. But you can tell that they actually care for and respect their employees, which no doubt contributes to the overall customer experience.

We can’t wait to see how Willow Grove Mall shoppers will receive the new Primark location opening tomorrow.

The Details: Primark, opens 11 am, July 19, 2016, Willow Grove Mall.