Fast fashion masters such as Primark fail to admit that climate conflicts are coming

Making sustainable clothing will mean either price increases or reduced profits

Primark’s new store in Philadelphia’s Fashion District. Photograph: Jim Sulley/Newscast Creative

Primark’s new store in Philadelphia’s Fashion District. Photograph: Jim Sulley/Newscast Creative

Primark, which operates in its Irish home market as Penneys, continued its drive into the US market on Thursday with its 13th store opening there. The new outlet, in Philadelphia’s Fashion District, was launched with the usual fanfare to draw in the crowds: a DJ, free rickshaw rides for customers and, most importantly, in-store giveaways. Primark knows what its core young clientele wants.

On Friday, its stock market-listed parent, Associated British Foods (ABF), will sit down with investors to explain how the retailer’s new sustainability strategy, Primark Cares, which it claims will make its “fast fashion” business model less environmentally damaging , can defy accounting gravity.

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