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Primark continues to bounce back from pandemic

By Huw Hughes

28 Feb 2022


Image: Primark

Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) was upbeat on Monday as the fast fashion giant showed continued recovery from the pandemic.

In its interim results for the 24 weeks to March 5, ABF said it expects Primark sales to be “well over” 60 percent ahead of last year, with almost all its stores remaining open during the half-year period.

That was a big improvement from a year earlier, when many of the retailer's stores across the UK and Europe were forced to close.

Primark was hit hard during the pandemic, as it doesn't have online channels to offset losses from closed stores during lockdowns.

The company said it expects first-half sales to still be 4 percent lower than pre-Covid 2019 levels.

The retailer’s operating profit margin has also recovered since stores have reopened. It now expects to be some 11 percent in the first half, close to its 2019 levels.

Strong sales across markets

Primark said like-for-like sales in the first half improved compared to the final quarter of fiscal 2021, but still expects them to be 11 percent below 2019 levels.

“Customer footfall is picking up again in most markets, particularly the UK and Ireland, after the disruption caused by the rapid rise in Omicron infections in the middle of the period,” it said.

Sales in Primark’s US market continued to outperform the rest of its store estates, while sales in the UK and Continental Europe are also “well ahead” of last year.

It added that “the pressure of disruption to the supply chain experienced in the autumn has continued to alleviate despite some delays in dispatch and slightly longer lead times”.

ABF Foods