ASSOCIATED BRITISH F

ABF
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Associated British Foods : AB Foods 16-Week Revenue Hit by Store Closures, Primark Sales Fall 30% -- Update

01/14/2021 | 03:20am

--Primark sales for the period fall 30% amid store closures

--Full-year sales, adjusted operating profit for Primark are expected to be lower than in fiscal 2020

--Sugar business revenue rose to GBP545 million

By Sabela Ojea

Associated British Foods PLC said Thursday that revenue for the first 16 weeks of fiscal 2021 declined, with clothing retailer Primark hit by the closure of stores.

The FTSE 100 company said revenue for the 16 weeks ended Jan. 2 fell to 4.80 billion pounds ($5.56 billion) compared with GBP5.51 billion for the same period a year earlier.

The British conglomerate said Primark sales for the period were 30% lower than in fiscal 2020, adding that Primark's full-year sales and adjusted operating profit are expected to be somewhat lower than last year.

Currently, 305 stores are closed, representing 76% of its retail selling space, it said.

If all currently closed Primark stores remain closed until the financial half year ending Feb. 21, the loss of sales would be around GBP1.05 billion, ahead of its previous GBP650 million estimate.

This would also translate into Primark posting a broadly break-even first-half adjusted operating profit compared with GBP441 million recorded for the year-earlier period.

"Under the scenario that the entire estate is closed imminently, and remains closed until the end of March, we would expect to see over the three month period a further loss of Primark sales of some GBP800 million, and a consequent reduction in profit contribution of some GBP300 million," AB Foods said.

Revenue at the company's sugar business rose to GBP545 million from GBP512 million, while grocery business revenue increased to GBP1.22 billion from GBP1.14 billion.

Agriculture revenue rose to GBP507 million from GBP463 million. AB Foods said trading across grocery, sugar and agriculture was ahead of views.

Write to Sabela Ojea at sabela.ojea@wsj.com; @sabelaojeaguix

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

01-14-21 0319ET

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