Popular UK clothing retailer Primark is looking to launch its first e-commerce website, reports Brand Republic.

Although headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, where it’s branded as ‘Penneys’, Primark is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods (ABF) and it has over 200 stores across the UK, Ireland and Western Europe.

Primark is known for selling clothes at the budget end of the market, but its current website is more of a repository for information about the company and a store locator. But now, ABF has put out a tender to build its first e-commerce site, which is expected to go live some time in 2012.

Although many of its rival retailers have already made the move into the e-commerce space, Primark has so far resisted. But with recorded revenue of £2.7bn in 2010, its decision to start selling online could be more about protecting its current market share rather than seeking to grow it.

Given that Primark focuses on budget, affordable clothing it will have to sell high volumes online to justify its online presence, but there could still be a big untapped market which an online solution can solve. Sarah Peters, lead analyst at Verdict Research, told Brand Republic:

“It’s a growth sector – there are people that can’t get to Primark stores and some may be put off because the stores get so busy at the weekend. It can also open doors internationally, if you look at what retailers such as ASOS and Next have done.”