Associated British Foods, the owner of retail giant Primark, on Wednesday, said it hopes to sell over £400 million (€463 million) of last year’s stock when shops are allowed to reopen in England on 12th April.
Bucking the trend among major retailers, Primark continued not to offer online sales throughout 2020 and therefore estimates to have lost £1.1 billion (€1.3 billion) in sales due to the latest lockdown closures.
Without online sales to generate revenue, the company plans to sell millions of pounds worth of clothing stock to plug the gap caused by the closures.
Primark has said the costs involved in setting up an online store, particularly the cost of processing returns and manning the operation, would mean it could no longer offer low prices.
That being said, Primark’s significant drop in sales contrasts sharply with online-only fashion retailers, such as Asos and Boohoo, whose sales rose by around 40 per cent in the last four months of 2020.
Primark had announced that for the 24 weeks to 27th February 2021, sales amounted to £2.2 billion (€2.5 billion), compared to £3.7 billion (€4.3 billion) in the same period last year.
It has, however, expressed optimism that customers will return as soon as stores are allowed to reopen on 12th April:
“We expect the period after reopening to be very cash generative”.
It will be selling a mix of new and old lines for the remainder of the year as it plays catch-up.
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The UK is the only G7 nation whose economy is still smaller than it was before the pandemic