Primark exec regrets raising prices

A Primark executive has told the BBC he “regrets” raising prices, as the fashion firm battles with rising costs.

John Bason, finance director for Primark’s parent company AB Foods (ABF), also warned some people might shop with them less as budgets are squeezed by the higher cost of living.

Primark is hiking prices across some of its range from this autumn.

But Bason said the company is still committed to “affordability for everyone”.

Across the UK economy, firms have been passing on higher energy, shipping and oil costs to customers.

High Street chains including Next, Greggs and Superdry have all said they are raising prices.

Primark had promised not to raise prices for its spring and summer collection.

But while it is keeping that pledge, ABF recently announced that it will implement “selective price increases” across some of Primark’s autumn and winter stock as it tackles spiralling costs.

“I do regret that we have to put some prices up,” Bason said. “It is a reflection of the scale of the inflation that we’re seeing.”

Inflation – the rate at which prices rise – is at a 40-year-high.

The pandemic, the supply chain disruption as the global economy rebounded, and the war in Ukraine have all impacted on rising prices.

“Obviously Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has really changed the economic environment and inflation in particular,” Bason said.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure that our prices stay where they are, but at some point the inflationary pressures is such that you do have to do something about it.”

Bason would not say how much prices will go up.

However, he insisted that Primark was still “the best value clothing fashion retailer” in the UK.

And said that, in an environment where other retailers were also raising prices, the gap – compared with others – could be maintained.

Retail expert Jonathan de Mello said tightening household budgets due to the rising costs of food, fuel and energy are a huge problem for high street retailers. (BBC)

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