Trading at the reopened stores of the British fast fashion chain Primark has been encouraging, but the prolonged lockdown means the retailer's full-year profit is likely to slump by about two thirds, owner Associated British Foods has said.
All Primark stores were shuttered in March as the pandemic spread. As governments eased lockdown restrictions the stores reopened, including all 153 stores in England on June 15.
AB Foods said that since the reopening of the first Primark stores on May 4, cumulative sales for the seven weeks period to June 20 were £322 million and were 12% lower than last year on a like-for-like basis.
It said sales in the week ended June 20, with over 90% of selling space reopened, were £133 million and trading in England and Ireland was ahead of the same week last year.
For the full 2019-20 year, adjusted operating profit at Primark is now forecast to come in a range of £300 million to £350 million pounds, down from £913 million in 2018-29.
AB Foods said overall group revenue from continuing businesses for the 40 weeks to June 20 was 13% lower than the same period last year at constant currency.
For the 2019-20 year the group expects "strong progress" in adjusted operating profit at its sugar, grocery, agriculture and ingredients businesses.
The group also expects to end the year with net cash of over £750 million.