Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Primark won't go online just because of lockdown says CEO




Primark is not considering making the jump to e-commerce, despite seeing sales plunge from £650 million a month to zero due to store closures.

George Weston, chief executive of Primark owner Associated British Foods, has revealed the retail giant is focusing on ensuring staff and customer safety once the stores are allowed to reopen.

Primark has been badly hit by the coronavirus crisis. Without an online presence, the company has not been able to trade since governments in Europe began to impose lockdown measures.

68,000 employees have been furloughed across Europe, and all 375 stores remain closed. On Tuesday, ABF revealed it is taking a £284 million writedown on unsold stock, while as much as £1.5 billion worth of unsold goods is sitting in Primark’s warehouses and stores.

And while fashion rivals are using their online stores to clear excess stock, Primark is resisting launching an online shop.

“Our decisions online will be taken in their own context, not because of a once in a hundred years pandemic,” George Weston told The Times.

However, a click-and-collect service could be on the cards for the fashion chain, with the CEO saying that such an option “might be right for us”.

For now, Primark has insisted stores will not reopen until “the disease is under control”. The company confirmed it has enough financial headroom with £801 million of cash and an undrawn, committed facility of £1.08 billion.

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