Primark sales down 24% ‘due to pingdemic’

Primark’s year-on-year sales fell 24 per cent over the summer, which the discount retailer attributed to the impact of the “pingdemic”.

Primark said it retained its relative share of the clothing market, despite issues such as bad weather, the Euros football tournament, and widespread self-isolation hurting its overall sales.

The fall coincides with the slowdown in sales experienced by the wider UK retail industry; sales fell by 2.5 per cent in July, the largest fall barring lockdown periods since 2010.

Year-on-year sales for the third quarter to 19 June rose 3 per cent, but sales are expected to fall 17 per cent in the fourth quarter to 18 September.

In addition, Primark’s owner Associated British Foods (ABF) expects Primark to fall victim to supply chain issues as the year progresses and to experience “some delays to the handover of some autumn/winter inventory caused by port and container freight disruptions".

However, ABF expects its grocery sales to exceed last year, as a result of the strong performance of its Twinings and Ovaltine drinks businesses.

“For now, Primark is still firing on all cylinders and its robust operating model meant even the pingdemic, which dented summer sales, didn’t prove the bump in the road to veer off course,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment, and markets analyst at financial services group Hargreaves Lansdown. “The company though is not immune to supply chain issues, with delays to the handover of autumn winter inventory caused by port disruptions.”

She added: “That’s led to concerns trading for the upcoming year might not be as smooth.”

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