In Brief

How Primark went from £650m sales to nothing in one month

Owner says clothing chain has been ‘squarely in the path of pandemic’

The impact of the coronavirus has seen Primark go from making £650m in sales a month to nothing, says the owner of the clothing chain.

As lockdown measures forced it to close stores, Associated British Foods (ABF) said Primark “has been squarely in the path of this pandemic”.

Announcing that the chain has written down the value of its clothing stock by £284m, boss George Weston said: “From making sales of £650m each month, since the last of our stores closed on 22 March, we have sold nothing.”

He said that he would “love” to be able to reopen Primark stores but added: “I know that we must not do so until we have suppressed this disease.” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced takeon the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazine. Start your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

ABF said it plans draw on government programmes to provide income for employees no longer working and is seeking discussions with landlords for help with lease payments.

The owner said that internal cost-cutting measures, combined with business rates relief, should allow it to recover some 50% of Primark’s total operating costs. 

Commenting on the moves, Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, told City AM: “AB Foods has produced a measured response to the effects of the pandemic, battening down the cost hatches wherever possible and consolidating those parts of its business where some sort of earnings visibility is still possible.”

The Daily Mail says a survey from the British Chambers of Commerce shows around one in three British businesses has furloughed between 75% and 100% of its workforce. 

Recommended

How to regain your smell and taste after Covid
Woman smelling lavender
Getting to grips with . . .

How to regain your smell and taste after Covid

Why is New Zealand shutting its borders again?
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern adjusts her face mask following a press conference
In Depth

Why is New Zealand shutting its borders again?

Covid vaccines and the ‘nocebo’ response
Man receiving vaccine from woman in scrubs
Getting to grips with . . .

Covid vaccines and the ‘nocebo’ response

How does a no confidence vote work?
Boris Johnson
In Depth

How does a no confidence vote work?

Popular articles

Djokovic vs. Nadal vs. Federer: career records and grand slams
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have all won 20 grand slam singles titles
Profile

Djokovic vs. Nadal vs. Federer: career records and grand slams

Why is the UK in pole position to emerge from Covid-19 first?
A woman wearing a face mask waits for the tube in London
Today’s big question

Why is the UK in pole position to emerge from Covid-19 first?

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 16 January 2022
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 16 January 2022

The Week Footer Banner