Huge crowds and long queues as Madrid shoppers go Primark crazy

Shoppers face restricted access to control crowds a week after the low-cost fashion chain opened its largest shop in mainland Europe.

Huge crowds and long queues as Madrid shoppers go Primark crazy
Photo: Primark / Instagram.

The Irish low-cost fashion chain Primark kicked off celebrations to launch its new store in Madrid a week ago, but the hubbub apparently has hardly died down as residents have been complaining about the “obstacle course” created by the endless stream of shoppers trying to enter the store.

Local newspaper Madrid Diario reported on Thursday that queues for the store had spilled over onto smaller streets off of the main entrance on Gran Via, a major shopping street in the Spanish capital. The newspaper wrote that delivery trucks and cars have had trouble driving around the streams of pedestrians.

To combat overcrowding inside, store officials have fenced off areas for shoppers to stand in line outside, handing out numbers to make sure the store remains within its capacity limits.

One Irish-Spanish journalist compared getting into Primark to trying to get into a nightclub while underage.

Newspaper El Pais reported that shoppers have often waited up to an hour just to enter the store, days after the grand opening and even during the work week.

Pictures posted on Twitter showed lines stretching for blocks on Thursday, with some describing “infinite queues” and complaining of the controls.



“Excessive systems of control at the new Primark shop. Infinite queues.”

The Madrid store is flanked by two other major retailers – H&M and Mango. Madrid Diario reported that though managers of some neighbouring stores said Primark's presence is beneficial in bringing in more shoppers – especially when they mistakenly enter, thinking they're in Primark – the overcrowding also seems to prevent people at times from getting through to other stores.

A retail analyst wrote on Twitter that the continued popularity since the opening is a positive sign.

The Gran Via store itself is huge: five floors and more than 12,000 square metres of space.

The Madrid shop is Primark’s second biggest in the world, after Manchester. It brings the number of stores in Spain to 40, and its Spanish workforce to 7,300.

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Amancio Ortega’s daughter to take over as Zara and Inditex boss

Marta Ortega, daughter of Spain's wealthiest man, will take over as chairwoman of the world's biggest fashion retailer in a generational shift for the firm, Inditex announced on Tuesday.

Amancio Ortega's daughter to take over as Zara and Inditex boss
Photo taken in 2016 shows the founder and chairman of the Inditex fashion group Amancio Ortega (R) with his daughter Marta Ortega. Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP

She will replace Pablo Isla, who has been chairman since 2011, in April, the company said in a statement. He was deputy chairman between 2005 and 2011.

Ortega, 37, has been working for the company in different areas for the last 15 years, even working anonymously as a shop employee at one point to learn the ins and outs of the company.

She is the youngest daughter of Amancio Ortega, 85, who founded fast-fashion giant Zara with his ex-wife Rosalia in 1975 in Spain’s northwestern region of Galicia.

He remains the firm’s largest shareholder with a 59 percent stake and is one of the world’s richest men.

“I have lived and breathed this company since my childhood, and I have learned from all the great professionals I have worked with over the last 15 years,” Marta Ortega said in the statement.

“I have always said that I would dedicate my life to building upon my parents’ legacy, looking to the future but learning from the past,” she added.

Inditex, which operates nearly 7,000 stores worldwide, posted a net profit of almost 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) during its first half of 2021, which runs between February and July.

The fashion group owns seven other brands in addition to Zara, including upmarket Massimo Dutti and teen label Stradivarius.

It is the world’s biggest fashion retailer, ahead of Swedish rival H&M.

Stocking shelves

Inditex thanked Isla, who is resigning, for his “leadership and vision” during his 17 years at the firm, saying the group had become “the leading company in its sector worldwide” under his watch.

It also hailed Marta Ortega, saying she “has led the strengthening of Zara’s brand image and fashion proposition, an area she will continue to oversee.”

She studied international business in London and carried out months-long stays in the departments of finance, accounting, sales analysis and design when she began working at Inditex.

Marta Ortega also briefly worked as an anonymous employee at the group’s shops in 2007, reportedly stocking shelves, to get a better understanding of how they operate.

Oscar Garcia Maceiras, who had become the company’s general counsel and secretary of the board in March, will become CEO “effective immediately”, Inditex said.

Her will replace Carlos Crespo, who took the post two years ago. Crespo will remain chief operating officer.