Shop staff form guard of honour as Primark founder’s hearse passes

Shop staff formed a guard of honour for Primark founder Arthur Ryan as his funeral cortege passed the chain’s first store.

Mr Ryan, who died earlier in the week aged 83 after a short illness, opened the shop 50 years ago in Dublin, where it traded as Penneys.

Penneys staff lined Jervis Street in central Dublin as the hearse carrying Mr Ryan passed by.

Arthur Ryan funeral
A woman looks at a tribute in the shop window (Brian Lawless/PA)

They applauded in poignant tribute to a man hailed as a retail giant.

Penneys had to change its name to Primark for European stores outside Ireland because JC Penney owned the copyright to the name.

Half a century after its foundation, Primark now has 370 stores across 12 countries, employing 75,000 people.

Arthur Ryan funeral
Penneys/Primark founder Arthur Ryan died aged 83 (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Ryan was chief executive until 2009, stepping into the chairman’s seat until his death, overseeing much of the expansion, including opening the first British Primark store in 1973.

The boss also helped cement Primark’s name on the UK high street, buying 120 former Littlewoods branches in 2005.

The tribute to Mr Ryan outside the Penneys store came ahead of his funeral at the Church of the Scared Heart in Donnybrook in south Dublin.

George Weston, chief executive of Primark’s parent company Associated British Foods, this week said Mr Ryan would be remembered as a “great giant of retailing”.

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