Mar 22, 2020

Primark closes stores as UK high street shuts doors

Primark will close all its stores from Sunday night after cancelling all new orders from suppliers, as the coronavirus outbreak shuts down the UK high street and delivers a critical blow to the retail industry. Associated British Foods, the family-controlled conglomerate that owns the cut-price fashion chain intends to close its 189 Primark stores in the UK for the foreseeable future, having already shut its other 187 venues across Europe and the United States over recent days. The company has also cancelled all new clothing orders from suppliers, such as factories in India and Bangladesh, but will continue to honour all orders already shipped or delivered to Primark warehouses or stores. The moves are another devastating blow for the British retail industry and its global supply chains, with Topshop owner Arcadia, clothing brand River Island, Shoe chain Clarks, upmarket fashion brand Reiss, US-based discounter TK Maxx and Swedish home furnishings group Ikea having also closed their UK stores over the past week. Adam Cochrane, an analyst at Citi, estimates that lost sales at Primark already equate to roughly £85m of gross profit, or about 6 per cent of its full-year forecast, even before stores close.

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