Primark has begun selling its clothes through online fashion store Asos in a partnership that will take the retailer online for the first time. The chain said it would launch a "very limited trial" on Asos, consisting of a range of 20 womenswear garments, in an attempt to gain an "insight" into online retailing.
The move is something of a u-turn for the chain. Primark has more than 250 stores across eight countries, but no online sales presence. George Weston, chief executive of parent company Associated British Foods only recently reiterated that there would be no online Primark store, since he preferred to see customers "toddling down Oxford Street" instead of sitting at home buying fashion online.
According to the Guardian, Weston said back in April: "It is enough for us to have great fashion in good locations at the right price. That simply works for us ... We don't have a problem that needs fixing."
But in spite of these comments, the Primark collection went on sale yesterday on Asos, and includes a £6 Airtex t-shirt and a studded parka selling for £22, taking its clothes to a whole new section of the market.
Tarlok Teji, a retail analyst at Manchester Business School, told Reuters that the partnership between Primark and Asos made good sense. "The details of the deal are unclear but I expect it will increase throughput for ASOS and give Primark customers a 'digital shopping channel'. We should expect both parties to do well from this venture."
Primark has so far managed to buck the retail gloom. The company reported a 24% increase in sales in April, a level of growth that helped see Associated British Foods report half-year pre-tax profits of £415m, up from £329m a year earlier, according to the BBC.
Introducing the Primark collection on its website, Asos said: "Retail phenomenon Primark joins Asos as part of our round up of great British high street brands. With their unique take on the latest must-haves and newest trends, Primark fans can get their hands on their award-winning affordable fashion, from skinny jeans and denim to skater dresses and printed t-shirts."
Five of the most fascinating companies
Primark to sell clothes through online fashion store ASOS
Not many companies have films made about them. But the story of social networking site Facebook attracted enough attention to interest Hollywood, resulting in the 2010 film The Social Network. The interest was not just due to the immense popularity of the Facebook website, which was created in its earliest form by Harvard University student Mark Zuckerburg in 2004, though. It was also a result of the legal wrangling between Zuckerburg and fellow Harvard students Divya Narendra and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who founded the social networking site ConnectU and accused Zuckerberg - who worked for them before creating Facebook - of copying their ideas and coding. In something of a damp squib ending, however, the case was dismissed due to a technicality in March 2007 without a ruling being made.
Most of the companies on this list are household names. However, comparatively few people have heard of Olam International, despite it being one of the world's largest agricultural commodity companies.
In fact, it produces enough cotton to keep everyone in the world in socks (three pairs per person, per year).
Fans of chocolate bars such as Mars are also sure to have consumed chocolate made from beans handled by Olam - they just don't realise it.
Headquartered in Singapore, Olam was founded in 1989. It now purchases ingredients such as coffee and cocoa from around 3.5 million smallholder famers based in emerging markets around the world. This enables it to work with communities in rural Africa and Asia on everything from productivity to environmental impact, resulting in a potentially huge impact on some of the world's poorest people.
Love them or hate them, Starbucks coffee shops are everywhere nowadays. Hardly surprising when you consider that the company has opened an average of two stores a day since 1987 (despite having to close some locations down too).
However, back in 1971 there was just one Starbucks coffee shop, in Seattle, Washington.
Named after Starbuck, the first mate on the whaling ship in the novel Moby Dick, the shop originally sold roasted coffee, but did not brew coffee to sell.
Now, though, you can get everything from a blueberry muffin to a mocha frappuccino from your local Starbucks store.
According to the company the white ribbon was introduced under the name in 1969. When competitors first entered the market, Coke made much of its curved bottle design which distinguished it from those that followed. As fewer and fewer people drank from bottles, the ribbon was produced as an alternative distinctive curve.
According to mokokoma, the apple is the fruit of the tree of knowledge. There is some question as to whether the bite taken out of it is a play on the word byte, symbolism of the fruit being eaten and the knowledge imparted, or just to make it look more like an apple and less like a cherry tomato.