Photo: Primark

Tuesday 14th October 2014

Primark takes Flack

Experienced recruiter Barry Flack drafted in to support retailer’s international expansion

‘Cheap chic’ retailer Primark has appointed Barry Flack to be its head of talent acquisition and employer branding.

The Irish jeggings giant has hired Flack to support expansion in Western Europe and – perhaps more interestingly ­– into the US market early next year.

Flack’s got an impressive background. He’s joined from being interim HRD at Openreach – part of BT – but also has previous experience at O2, Barclays, UBS, Thomson Reuters and Lebara Mobile. He’s a keen blogger and Irish himself, so presumably he’ll be able to understand the lingo at Primark’s head office over on O’Connell Street.

Anyway, the retailer has “mega expansion” plans (its rhetoric, seen here) including an audacious but intelligent land-grab Stateside. It’s planning to open ten stores by 2016 in ‘the corridor from Baltimore to Boston’ and has already leased prominent Boston premises.

Primark’s not doing a Topshop and opening in Manhattan yet, though. Instead, it’s focusing on ‘metro areas’ where real estate is cheaper and the risk comparatively limited. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, WHSmith and Marks and Spencer have all failed to break the US, so its caution seems advisable.

One challenge: there’s evidence that retail jobs in the US are becoming a tad more difficult to fill. According to the American National Retail Federation, the industry added 35,500 jobs in September alone.

About the author

Andrew Baird

Andrew is the CEO of HRville. He is also Employer Brand Director of Blackbridge Communications, Editorial Director of Professionals in Law and an associate of The Smarty Train. Previously, he was the MD of TCS Advertising.