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Further lockdown closures cause £430m hit for Primark

Figure is higher than the £375m predicted last month; but since re-opening, sales across key markets have “been very strong”.

The latest wave of lockdowns and restrictions have hit sales at Primark to the tune of £430 million, parent company Associated British Foods has revealed this morning (December 4).

This figure is higher than the £375 million predicted last month, however AB Foods also said it had recovered some of the costs – with overheads falling 25% during the autumn lockdown – and early signs that re-opened stores are seeing strong sales, Retail Gazette reported.

As well as stores in England – the majority of which are operating under extended opening hours – stores in Ireland, France and Belgium also re-opened in the past week.

34 stores remain closed – including all stores in Northern Ireland and Austria – which represents 7% of Primark’s total retail selling space. This compares with 62% when the highest number of stores were closed in November.

“Sales in the days since reopening in each of these markets have once again been very strong, reflecting the excitement and appeal of the Primark offering,” said AB Foods chairman Michael McLintock.

The retailer also said that its preparations were complete as part of its post-Brexit transition plans, while there are also plans afoot to continue expanding its retail selling space, Retail Gazette added.

Since the start of this financial year, new Primark stores have opened in the US – in New Jersey and Florida – with “encouraging” performance from its remaining sites. Strong sales were also seen in Primark’s first store in Rome in Italy, and a fifth site opened in Barcelona, Spain.

Michael continued: “Notwithstanding the currently announced periods of restriction, we continue to expect Primark sales and profit to be higher this financial year compared to last. We will continue to expand retail selling space.”

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