Primark vows to repay £121million in furlough cash after reopening sparks ‘record sales’ | City & Business | Finance

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The clothing giant will refund the Government support following “record sales” in the days after April 12. Primark’s parent company, Associated British Foods (ABF), said the decision comes despite stores remaining closed for most of the autumn and winter period, leading to revenues and profits plunging. The company said sales were down 17 percent to £6.3billion in the six months to February 27.

Chief executive George Weston said the repayments would be made as he was confident stores will become cash generative following the easing of restrictions in England and Wales, where 40 percent of Primark selling space is located. 

Mr Weston said: “We are excited about welcoming customers back into our stores as the lockdowns ease and are delighted with record sales in England and Wales in the week after reopening on 12 April.

“With our success in a number of new markets, as wide-ranging as Poland and Florida, we are as convinced as we have ever been in the long-term growth prospects for Primark.”

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“Accordingly, we do not plan to make any further claims from government job retention schemes for which we would be eligible from this date, and we intend to repay the £121million referred to above. This includes the repayment of £72million to the UK Government.”

A dividend of 6.2p a share was declared, worth £49million, having scrapped any dividend payments last year.

The company said it expects to be trading from 68 percent of selling space by the end of April.



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