Primark hails ‘reassuring’ sales since reopening
TRADING at Primark stores has been “reassuring and encouraging” since they were allowed to reopen, bosses have said – sparking hopes of a swift high street recovery.
Sales were just 12pc lower in the seven weeks to June 20 than they had been a year earlier, bringing in £322m.
In the week ended June 20, Primark posted sales of £133m – with trading in England and Ireland ahead of the same week last year. Unlike most rivals it does not sell online, meaning revenues ground to a total halt during lockdown.
Sales plummeted 75pc in the third quarter ending June 20, and it expects profit to slump by two thirds this year to £350m. However, the majority of shops are trading again – earlier than expected – with all 153 stores open in England.
Despite a rapid pick-up, Primark’s parent firm Associated British Foods warned that city centre outlets are lagging behind regional stores as shoppers stay close to home.
It said: “Most of our regional stores are performing well, especially in retail parks. Our stores in the centre of big cities are suffering from the current absence of tourism and much lower commuter footfall.”
The company does not intend to take part in the Black Friday bargain sales bonanza, despite having lost £1.5bn in sales in lockdown. John Bason, finance chief, said it did not discount before the crisis hit and will not change tack. The chain cannot afford to discount its already cheap products because it dents its profit margins, he said. It refuses to sell online for the same reason.
Mr Bason said: “Have we lost sales? Yes. Have we lost out [by not selling online]? Home delivery for £1, £2, £3 products, we can’t do it at a profit – nobody can.
“That’s the point. We are selling essentials at the best prices. Have we changed our views? No.”
AB Foods shares closed up 4.1pc at £20.46.