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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 13:16 GMT
Primark stock destroyed in fire
The fire destroyed the Primark warehouse in Lutterworth

Up to half of the stock of a major UK clothing retailer has been destroyed in a fire at a huge distribution centre.

Dozens of firefighters tackled the massive blaze at the 440,000 sq ft TNT Primark warehouse at Magna Park, near Lutterworth, on Tuesday evening.

A Primark UK spokesman said the damage to the building and stock was being assessed, adding it was fully insured.

Some 15 fire engines from Warwickshire and Leicestershire went to the site, next to the A5, on the county boundary.

Sean O'Connell, of Leics fire service, said the national storage centre was "extensively damaged" in the fire. Crews could be at the scene for another 48 hours.

The Primark spokesman said arrangements are being made to continue supplies to its UK stores. It is estimated half of the clothing chain's stock in the UK is located elsewhere, including at a smaller warehouse, and is undamaged.

The warehouse, opened five years ago, is owned and run by logistics company TNT, but is a dedicated unit for Primark.

It was full of clothes so it was obviously going to spread very quickly
Fire service spokesman

Jeff Lancaster, from Primark, said: "We couldn't say that there won't be certain lines that might be short in certain stores... but we are doing everything possible to make sure that our contingency plan does exactly what it is supposed to do."

Cris Stephenson, divisional managing director of TNT Fashion Group, said: "Thanks to our well practised safety procedures, staff were quickly evacuated from the building and no-one was hurt.

"Our entire operation has been transferred to an alternative building on the site and disruption to the customer's distribution network has been kept to a minimum."

Fifteen fire engines responded to the call on Tuesday evening and the cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

'No-one injured'

The warehouse, off the A4303 Lutterworth Bypass linking the A5 and M1 in south Leicestershire, receives about 30 lorry loads of stock a day.

The premises included a single-storey, steel-constructed warehouse and a two-storey office block.

A fire service spokesman said: "It was full of clothes so it was obviously going to spread very quickly.

"It's pretty much 100% damage to the building but fortunately no-one was injured."

Primark, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods plc, has more than 120 stores in the UK and Ireland.

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