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A Love Letter to Primark By Valerie Loftus

Ever loved something so much that you wrote a book about it? Well that’s exactly what Valerie Loftus did about her fave fashion store Primark – or Penneys as its known in Ireland. As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations we spoke to one of our mega fans and asked her what it is about Penneys that she loves so much and keeps her coming back for more. If you haven’t already tracked down his little book of love, we urge you to get your hands on a copy. Scroll down to read Valerie’s love letter to Primark.


The arrival of Primark - or Penneys, as it’s known in Ireland - to my hometown in County Mayo was a huge deal. It was literally the talk of the town for weeks beforehand. Finally, after years of having to travel to other towns to shop, we finally had one of our own! The excitement was palpable, and on the day it opened, there were queues to get in like you’d see on London’s Oxford Street!

I’d always admired Primark from afar, but on that fateful day, our lifelong love affair truly began. I spent my wages from my first job on slogan tees, chunky necklaces and neon tights, like the 2000s kid I was. I furnished my college bedrooms with what must have been the entire contents of the Homeware section. I worked there during one busy Christmas season too. In fact, I’ve even written a book about Primark. What can I say? This love is real.


Even though I’ve been a faithful shopper for years, I still get the same buzz of excitement when I know I have time for a good and proper browse. I’m methodical about it, you see - I like to comb through the shop from top to bottom, section by section, until I find a little treasure (or a few little treasures) I have to bring home with me. At this stage, I know that I’ll never come out with just the thing I went in for, and I’ve accepted that. It’s part of the joy of Primark.

Since writing the book, I’ve been asked many times to pinpoint what it is that people love so much about this shop. I could mention price points and trends and business strategies, but I do think it’s a little more personal than that. It’s like how walking past and deciding on the spot to go in ‘for a look’ feels like such a treat to yourself. It’s how it unites us in small ways, in Ireland, for example, the phrase ‘Thanks, Penneys’ has become part of our language due to so many people asking where your latest purchase is from – ‘Thanks, it’s from Penneys!’. It’s the way it’s always there for you, ready with an emergency pair of tights or a new top for a night out. Where would we be without it? A little less glam, a little less organised, and definitely hard up for a five pack of knickers. So happy 50th birthday, Primark, and here’s to 50 more.