Trading in the reopened stores of Primark/Penneys 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 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 15 June.
AB Foods said that since the reopening of the first Primark stores on 4 May, cumulative sales for the seven weeks period to 20 June were £322 million ($403 million) and were 12% lower than last year on a like-for-like basis.
It said sales in the week ended 20 June, with over 90% of selling space reopened, were £133 million and trading in England and Ireland was ahead of the same week last year.
Full Year 2019-20
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 ($375-437 million), down from £913 million in 2018-29.
AB Foods said overall group revenue from continuing businesses for the 40 weeks to 20 June 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.