Retail choice: Primark, Manchester

Have you noticed how secretive people can be when they have been shopping?

There's something about arriving home, laden with shopping bags, that makes people want to, well, lie. Branded plastic bags are secreted in wardrobes or under stairs, receipts carefully hidden from prying eyes.

But something strange has been happening. Brazen displays of multiple shopping bags have been witnessed across the UK. It may sound like it should sell printer cartridges, but Primark is at the forefront of a retail revolution.

The formula is simple: take the latest catwalk item, create something similar, and sell it for next to nothing. If the idea of spending £1000 on a bag makes your blood curdle, relax - a virtually identical one will be available at Primark. For less than a fiver. In-store, individual lines are grouped together; displays are clean and simple. You could be in Debenhams, were it not for the utilitarian signage with things like '£6' on it.

Primark isn't alone in this market, but it is the most bullish. Together with New Look, Matalan, TK Maxx and brands such as Tesco's Cherokee, it represents a major shift in consumption. Spending hundreds on designer labels suddenly seems uncool. Which, perhaps, is how it should be.

- Design agency: Dalziel & Pow.


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