How Primark Benefits from the Switch from CHIEF to CDS

News 20 September 2022

Primark now declares shipments from the UK to Northern Ireland via MIC-CUST® and benefits from the direct data exchange with the UK’s new customs filing system CDS (Customs Declaration Service).

Founded in 1969 in Dublin, Primark’s goal was to bring affordable clothing to Ireland. As Primark added its business to new locations, it also added new essentials including womenswear, menswear and kidswear, as well as beauty, homeware and accessories.

Today the Irish clothing retailer is operating in over 400 stores in 14 countries throughout Europe and the US and employs more than 65,000 people. However, Primark is still striving for growth in their markets and therefore expect to reach 530 stores by the end of 2026.

After the worldwide business expansion, Primark’s customs processes thereby became much more complex to manage. Until 2020, all of Primark's customs declarations (~100,000/year) were paper-based and handled by a small customs broker in Dublin, fully relying on printed documents and resulting in a high manual workload. To address these challenges and improve efficiencies across its business, Primark decided for MIC’s Customs & Trade Compliance Software Solutions.

MIC now supports Primark with MIC-CUST® Import & Export to automate its customs processes in the UK and additional countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands and more to come. Primark benefits from the automated creation of import and export declarations and the automatic calculation of customs values, taxes and duties. In addition, MIC-CUST® enables direct data exchange with national customs authorities’ electronic filing systems, such as in the UK.

With the closure of the old filing system on the horizon, Primark decided for the transition from CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) to the new CDS (Customs Declaration Service) to be in accordance with HMRC’s (HM Revenue and Customs) plans of closing the old system:

  • 30 September 2022: import declarations close on CHIEF
  • 31 March 2023: export declarations close on CHIEF / National Exports System (NES)

Another reason for the decision to implement MIC-CUST® was the fact that, under the Northern Ireland Protocol (effective since 1 January 2021), companies are required to declare moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. For a year, the Irish retailer handled these declarations through HMRC’s TSS (Trader Support Service) portal which caused significant manual workload. Additionally, HMRC supported customs declarations from Great Britain to Northern Ireland only via CDS, therefore, Primark decided early on to switch to the new customs filing system. Using MIC-CUST® instead of TSS now enables Primark to increase the efficiency of declaring its goods.

The next step will be to switch regular imports to the UK from CHIEF to CDS, which is planned by early July 2022. Finally, export shipments are also planned to be switched in the first quarter of 2023. With the increased automation-level MIC-CUST® provides, Primark is well-positioned to execute on its plans while continuing to drive efficiencies across its international business!

About MIC:

MIC is the world leader in providing global customs and trade compliance software solutions. The MIC group currently employs 450+ professionals around the world. More than 800 international customers rely on MIC software products for their global customs and trade compliance management solutions.

For more information about MIC and how we could help your operations, please contact us via [email protected].