Associated British Foods has said 20% of its Primark stores are now closed due to coronavirus and will only re-open when the governments of Italy, France, Spain and Austria allow it.
In a statement, the company said it had expected sales of £190 million from the affected stores over the next four weeks.
ABF said its remaining stores, including those in the UK, have seen a drop in like-for-like sales in the last two weeks, with the falls accelerating over the past few days.
Looking ahead, the company said: “Given the effect of COVID-19 on Primark’s sales, it is too early to provide earnings guidance for the remainder of the current financial year.
“The group has a strong balance sheet, substantial cash liquidity with some £800 million of net cash at the half year and significant undrawn bank facilities.”
However, ABF said its first half operating profit will be ahead of expectations after the company achieved higher margins within Primark and its grocery business.
Source: The Retail Bulletin