Primark set to reopen this month as owner unveils U-turn

Primark, which has branches in Ipswich and Colchester, has revealed it will reopen its stores Pictur

Primark, which has branches in Ipswich and Colchester, has revealed it will reopen its stores Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Primark’s stores in Ipswich and Colchester will reopen this month following a new announcement by the store’s parent company.

Primark’s owner Associated British Foods(ABF) said it was hoping to reopen all of its 153 stores in England on June 15.

The news comes only days after the company said it had no definitive date for its shops return and that it would only reopen when safe to do so.

ABF shut all its Primark stores in March in the face of coronavirus, which it said resulted in a loss of around £650 million for every month that all stores were closed.

It said that it cut more than 50% off overheads at Primark in a bid to stabilise its finances during the pandemic.

In a statement, the company said: “As European governments have begun to ease restrictions on clothing retailing we have been able to reopen stores.

“Safety has been our highest priority in our detailed preparations to welcome our customers and employees back to stores. We are following government safety advice in all markets.

“Importantly, we will apply the valuable experience gained from more than 100 stores which are already open as we open the remainder of our estate, including stores across the UK.”

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Last week, Primark revealed changes to the ways customers would be allowed to shop in its stores including limiting the amount of customers allowed in store at once.

“Social distancing protocols, hand sanitiser stations, perspex screens at tills and additional cleaning of high frequency touch points in the store are among the measures we are implementing,” said the retailer.

Primark said trading has been “reassuring and encouraging” in its recently reopened stores, with queues outside most sites.

Nevertheless, it said cumulative like-for-like sales since reopening have been lower than the same period last year.

The firm added that “as long as social distancing is required, we expect it to restrict the capacity of our busiest stores from achieving their aggregate pre-Covid-19 sales”.

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