Customers get first glimpse inside Newcastle’s new Primark
Going away for a summer holiday is usually a prompt for interesting retail things to happen in my absence, and this month has been no exception.
I’ve been charting the development of Newcastle’s enlarged Primark for the last 18 months or so, and returned from Slovenia last weekend to find that much of the ex-BHS building is now open as Primark, allowing work to progress on revamping the original Primark next door.
As you may recall from my post in March, the former configuration of the shared BHS and Primark building was rather complicated (below), with Primark’s one-and-a-half retail floors (in blue) sandwiched between BHS’s retail space below and its stockroom areas above (in pink).
As my diagram shows, this layout will be vastly simplified once the finished Primark occupies four full retail floors and two floors of stock; in the meantime, the current temporary arrangement has seen Primark move into the lower-ground and ground-floor space of the ex-BHS, as well as the former BHS stockroom on the second floor, with a new temporary street entrance into Primark (shown at the top of this blog) where the way into BHS used to be. In turn, Primark’s existing first floor is now completely closed off to allow work to get fully underway there.
The outside of the store, meanwhile, is already unrecognisable from its BHS days (below), though there’s a good way to go before it starts to assume its finished appearance.
Though still clearly a work in progress, there are already some clues to the new store’s look and feel. Most notably, the new glazed corner staircase that currently connects the ground and second floors affords interesting views over Northumberland Street – rather like the new BHS further along the street – and brings natural light into what always used to be a dull and featureless building.
Perhaps most interesting, however, is that we can already start to get a feel for the sheer scale of the new Primark. Even with large chunks screened off, it already feels more spacious and pleasant than its predecessor. Once everything’s unwrapped later this year, and the four retail floors are revealed to their full extent, it’s really going to be quite something.