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Primark accused of ‘rewarding’ racist customer at Westfield Stratford City

PUBLISHED: 13:30 25 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:39 25 April 2018

The incident allegedly took place in Primarks Westfield Stratford City branch. Picture: Lewis Stickley/PA

The incident allegedly took place in Primarks Westfield Stratford City branch. Picture: Lewis Stickley/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A Forest Gate mother has accused Primark of “rewarding” a racist customer accused of refusing to be served by “black people”.

Donna Guthrie, 47, said her daughter Antonietta was shopping at the budget clothes chain’s Westfield Stratford City branch at about 4.45pm on Monday when she witnessed the exchange.

While queuing at the tills on the lower ground floor, the 28-year-old reportedly overheard a female customer tell a Muslim shop assistant: “I don’t want to be served by a black person, they are dirty.”

In an email complaint sent 7pm yesterday, Donna wrote that the woman “continued to shout her racist statement another two times” after being informed the other cashiers were black, as well as most of those waiting to be serived.

“At this point,” she added, “a lot of customers in the queue were becoming annoyed that the abusive customer had not been removed from the store.

“Customers were still being served, and as the woman was next to be served, she made a rude comment to one of the black male cashiers.”

The manager, Donna told the Recorder, then appeared, approaching the woman from behind the counter, telling the woman: “I understand, but there are different ways of saying things.”

The woman was then given a basket to collect her items and “personally escorted” to another till, she added.

In a statement, the retailer said its own investigation found no employee “acted with knowledge of any alleged racist comments”.

“As soon as we became aware of this allegation, we immediately carried out a thorough investigation,” said a spokesman.

“The investigation team spoke at length to all the employees who were in that part of the store at the time and we have also reviewed all relevant CCTV coverage.

He added: “The customer was moved from the exchange/refund area of the store to a sales till in order to pay for her goods. The customer was not moved as a result of her alleged racist comments, because our employees were unaware of them.”

“We would like to reiterate that Primark does not tolerate or condone racism or discrimination of any kind.”

Did you witness the alleged incident? Call 020 8477 3802 or email alex.shaw@archant.co.uk.

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