Primark to open FIVE new stores this year as it names its top-selling products post-lockdown

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PRIMARK has announced it will open five new stores this year, as the retailer revealed what people have been buying since it reopened last month.

The clothing chain’s owner Associated British Foods (ABF) said since it threw open its doors again, people have been snapping up children’s clothes, leisure and nightwear, along with summer items such as shorts and t-shirts.

But consumer demand was “unsurprisingly weak” for formal menswear and travel-related accessories, the retailer said.

Since reopening, most of Primark’s regional stores have been performing well, especially in retail parks, although its city centre stores are “suffering from the current absence of tourism and much lower commuter footfall”.

During the remainder of this financial year, it plans to open five new stores across the world.

These will be in the Belle Epine and Plaisir shopping centres in Paris, France, in the American Dream shopping centre in New Jersey, in Sawgrass Mills, Florida, and in Warsaw, the chain’s first store in Poland.

Even during the lockdown, it managed to open a number of new stores, including one in the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

Shoppers were pictured queuing in the early hours when Primark reopened its stores in across the UK last month as lockdown rules were eased.

The retailer has no online shop, and so sales had slumped to zero after governments across the world ordered that non-essential retailers should close to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

According to its latest trading update, revenue at ABF dropped 39 per cent in the third quarter, driven down by the forced closure of its 375 Primark stores.

The fast fashion brand managed to reduce its operating costs by more than 50 per cent during the lockdown period, and this limited the amount of cash going out of the business to around £100m each month, ABF said.

But this did not make up for the estimated £650m of lost sales from Primark each month.

As a result, ABF said that it expected operating profit at Primark to be two-thirds lower for the whole year at £300m-£350m, compared to £913m last year.

As of today, 367 stores have reopened with the remaining eight – seven in Scotland and one in the United States – expected to follow in the near future, it said.

We took a first look inside Primark to see what safety measures have been put in place for staff and customers after lockdown.

There are nine new rules shoppers have to follow.

Meanwhile, some Primark goods have been popping up for sale on Amazon, although there is no formal agreement between the retailers.

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