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Take a Peek Inside Primark’s 3-Level Store in Chicago

Retailer’s 36,000-sq.-ft. Midwest flagship hits storied street.




Courtesy of Primark

JUST AS THE first tulips along Chicago’s premiere shopping streets began to cautiously emerge this spring, Primark (London) unveiled its first location in the Midwest on Chicago’s State Street.

The discount fashion, accessories and home goods retailer, which prides itself on sourcing materials ethically and with their environmental impact in mind, planted its flag in a three-level, 36,000-square-foot space once occupied by The Gap. The Chicago store is Primark’s 12th in the U.S. and is the latest in a fleet of 390 doors in 12 countries.

“We were delighted with the fantastic response this weekend,” a Primark spokesperson told Forbes opening weekend. “We had strong visitor numbers and sales – and that was with limited customers due to Covid restrictions.”

In addition to the apparel and accessories for which the brand is well known, the Chicago store also features footwear and home goods departments. Local residents and tourists alike are left with no doubt as to what city they’re in, finding womens’, mens’ and kids’ merchandise featuring local favorites the Chicago Bulls as part of an NBA x Primark collaboration displayed prominently and featured in wall graphics.

White fixtures, concrete floors, exposed ductwork and an exposed brick wall behind the cashwrap give the space a raw, minimal feel. Lifestyle graphics and individual and grouped mannequins throughout the store tell the story of the product, calling out those pieces made with sustainable materials, and helping shoppers navigate the large space.

Though Primark signed a lease for the building in 2019, the pandemic delayed its opening and required adjustments be made to allow for social distancing. Clear shields were also installed at each register at the cashwrap and fitting rooms remained closed to ensure safety.


Even on Chicago’s coldest days, State Street is bustling with energy, but this past year’s pandemic lockdowns temporarily changed that reality. Now, with nearly half of area residents vaccinated and thanks to an early spring, “that great street,” as Frank Sinatra liked to call it, is returning to its former glory – with the Primark flagship sending a clear message that Chicago is open for business.



  • Retailer
    Primark, London
  • Architect
    Gensler, San Francisco
  • Interior Design/Environmental Graphics
    Nelson Worldwide, Minneapolis
  • General Contractor
    Shawmut Design and Construction, Boston
  • Fixtures
    Kingsmen, Singapore



MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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