The Fastest-Growing Retailer in the US Is Not What You’d Expect

As major retailers continue to shutter long-standing brick-and-mortar stores, one company seems to be bucking the trend.

Primark is a name familiar among international shoppers, particularly those in Europe. But over the past three years, the Irish discount clothier has been making a concerted play in the U.S. retail space as well, earning the No. 1 spot on the National Retail Federation (NRF) annual Hot 100 Retailers list.

In 2015, the Dublin-based business introduced its first U.S. store in the Downtown Crossing neighborhood of Boston, in a space that was once the flagship of the Filene’s department store chain. Among its offerings are clothing, footwear and accessories as well as home goods, cosmetics and confectionary, including more than a dozen in-house brands selling at low price points.

The retailer has since expanded to nine locations, including New York City, Philadelphia and Danbury, Connecticut, with stores scheduled to open in New Jersey and Florida next year. Its Brooklyn facility spans 58,000 square feet, more than 40 percent larger than the usual Primark store.

Primark edged out popular names like outdoor recreation merchandiser Bass Pro Shops, appliance retailer Build.com and e-commerce giant Amazon, rounding out the top four spots on the list. It reported a 103 percent growth in U.S. sales in the year ending 2017, representing a budding trend in foreign retailers that find success through American consumers.

The Hot 100 is compiled by the NRF with research group Kantar Consulting; it was featured in the latest edition of the trade association’s Stores magazine.

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