LONDON (Reuters) – Associated British Foods warned on Thursday that it is expected to lose 1.1 billion pounds ($ 1.6 billion) of sales from the lockdown of its stores in fast fashion chain Primark in the first half of its financial year.
The group said it expects Primark sales in the first half to February 27 to be around 2.2 billion pounds and an adjusted operating profit slightly above break-even.
Due to restrictions imposed on Primark in the UK and across Europe, Primark expects sales, adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share for the group as a whole to be lower than last year.
But the group said it was looking forward to reopening Primark stores and by Thursday a possible reopening date for 233 stores in addition to the 77 stores already open. About 83% of its retail space will be traded on April 26.
“We expect the period after reopening to be very money-making,” he said.
AB Foods also has a wholesale division, whose brands include Kingsmill bread and Twinings tea, as well as its sugar, agricultural and key ingredients businesses.
It expects revenue and profit in all of these units to be ahead of expectations and in the first half of last year.
AB Foods shares closed Wednesday at 2,437 pence, valuing the business at 19.3 billion pounds.
($ 1 = 0.7064 pounds)
Reporting by James Davey; Edited by Kate Holton