Associated British Foods plc has said, while for the first half, adjusted operating profit will be ahead of its previous expectations, mainly due to higher margins for Primark and Grocery and adjusted earnings per share will now be ahead of last year on both a lease-adjusted and a reported basis, with developments over the last week in Italy, France, Spain and Austria, stores accounting for 20 percent of Primark’s selling space are now closed until the respective governments permit them to re-open.
The company said in a statement that these stores currently generate 30 percent of Primark’s sales. From the date of this announcement, the company had expected sales of 190 million pounds from these stores over the next four weeks.
The remainder of the estate, including the UK, which represents 41 percent of sales, has seen like-for-like sales declines over the last two weeks and these have accelerated over the past few days as a result of reduced footfall. The company further said that it does not expect to significantly mitigate the effect of the contribution lost from these sales.