The owner of Primark is expecting to lose £1.1bn in sales during the first half of its financial year due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions which prohibit stores to trade.
Associated British Foods (ABF) told investors that as a “consequence of the restrictions” placed on Primark it expects sales and adjusted operating profit for the group to be lower than last year for the 24 weeks to February.
Primark, which has refused to sell its goods online, said sales for the half year are estimated to be some £2.2bn, compared to £3.7bn in the first half of the last financial year.
The group also revealed 77 branches across its 370 store estate are currently trading – as lockdown restrictions ease internationally – however this only represents 22% of its retail selling space.
ABF still expects to take an additional £480m hit in the second half of the financial year- as Covid restrictions may still be in place come spring – but added it anticipates the period after reopening to be “very cash generative”.
ABF said: “We are looking forward to the reopening of the Primark estate. As of today, we have likely reopening dates for 233 stores in addition to the 77 stores already open, so that 83% of our retail selling space should be trading by 26 April.
“Our stores will be offering exciting seasonal ranges for spring/summer and we have been placing orders for merchandise with a long lead time for the autumn/winter season. We expect the period after reopening to be highly cash generative.”