Original article from Kent Live
There has been a lot of talk about the queues faced by customers as non-essential retailers reopened their doors to the public again on April 12.
But a more surprising trend has emerged surrounding Primark.
Though many shops saw opening day spikes, as customers came in their droves to get an in-person retail fix after being stuck at home for several months, those appear to have died down as the week has gone on.
This is not the case for Primark, however.
Primark's Bluewater branch was busy enough at 11am on Thursday (April 15), that the queue snaked through the shopping centre out in to the car park.
Signing up to the KentLive newsletter means you'll get the latest news direct to your inbox twice a day.
It couldn't be simpler and it takes seconds – simply press here, enter your email address and follow the instructions. You can also enter your email address in the box below the picture on most desktop and mobile platforms.
You can also sign up to our website and comment on our stories by pressing here and signing in.
The picture at Chatham's branch was similar, with the already-full shops having additional customers waiting round the block to get in to the discount clothing store.
Photos from around Kent indicate this is not a unique phenomenon, as a trip to Thanet's Westwood Cross earlier this week also indicated.
The large queues of Primark customers is made all the stranger by the fact that the rest of these shopping centres are not especially busy.
A handful of coffee shops had queues at Bluewater, but you could walk straight in to even some of the more popular shops like H&M and Urban Outfitters without having to wait at all today.
Meanwhile, the rest of Chatham was eerily quiet, emphasising just how much Primark's low-cost clothing draws in the crowds.
There are a number of possible reasons for the queues, though.
One of them is a COVID-safe approach to reopening, which was certainly the case in Bluewater, with stewards managing the queues and limiting the numbers entering the store.
Hand sanitiser was readily available alongside clear signposting to remind customers to give each other space, reinforcing the fact that Primark was in no way reneging its responsibilities to keep its customers safe.
The queue actually moved surprisingly quickly in Bluewater, and in spite of the fact that it was around 100 yards long, joining from the car park only entailed a wait of around 10 minutes, meaning the inconvenience wasn't too bad.
These queuing and social distancing rules are in place at all other stores, however, meaning that this alone can't explain why Primark was so busy.
The only remaining explanation is fairly obvious: simply how cheap Primark is and the fact it's bargains aren't available online.
In fact, you can buy t-shirts for the measly price of £2, or about the same price as a multipack of crisps.
Though the ethics of fast fashion have been the focus of much debate over the last few years, it's undoubtable that Primark is catering to an audience that perhaps doesn't have tons of spare cash to throw at new clothes.
The evidence from across Kent would suggest that this practice seems to be working out well for both the store and its regular customers.