For close on about two years now, the former site of the Virgin Megastore on the Tottenham Court Road end of Oxford Street has been a building site. Throughout the weeks and month that it was covered in scaffolding various suppositions were made about what it might be turned into, until it was eventually revealed that the Soho side of London’s biggest shopping street was getting its very own Primark Flagship store.
The news spread through the female component (and occasional bits of the male component, mostly for socks you see) in my office like wildfire. Our very own Primani, as big as the Marble Arch one and close enough to pop into at lunch or after work without a huge detour to the other side of Oxford Street. It was almost as big as the Olympics (well not really, but pretty big you know).
As the new store started to take shape and the scaffolding came down, we peered hungrily at the covered up storefront, waiting, hoping that the opening date would be soon… despite this rather bizarre endorsement. I mean, have you seen what the Soho pigeons look like…
Finally a launch date appeared on the posters and we salivated and counted down. The 20th of September. D-Day.
Of course I couldn’t resist making a visit on the opening day and Jen and I agreed that we would each bring £20 with us, scour the shop and see what we could get. Compared to most Primark’s the store is lighter, shinier, tidier and absent of chavs with pushchairs. It is so big though that it’s a bit overwhelming, which left us a bit spoilt for choice.
The ground floor has a pretty impressive range of slightly more expensive (like New Look expensive not H&M expensive) trendier and limited edition ranges that you don’t find in your suburban Primarks. But never fear if you are after the slightly crap t-shirts with Lady Gaga on them, you’ll find them on the second floor along with the accessories. Even in such glamorous surroundings I’m still a bit disappointed that their shoes run small, which makes it hard for me to buy any that fit my mega size 8 feet, but the selection is a lot better than most.
I’m not sure if news of this new retail behemoth hadn’t spread beyond Soho locals but it was relatively quiet with no queue to pay. However, I still wouldn’t arrive expecting to try anything on unless you had unlimited time.
For Jen’s £24 (she couldn’t bear to leave either item so she cheated a little), she got a sheer, floor-length partially lined silver skirt and this cool abstract patterned dipped hem top.
For £16 I got this limited edition black and gold dipped hem top (EVERYTHING has a dipped hem this season) and floral canvas slip-ons that I love.
I will be forced to walk passed the new Primark on my way home from work every day… I can’t help but worry that it’s going to be a bit like a black hole for me. Only time will tell…