Primark boss: “In time we can rebuild the profits - we can't replace the people we lose”
The chief executive of the parent company of Primark has confirmed that he is willing to ‘accept lower sales’ in order to fight the spread of COVID-19.
In a statement this morning, Associated British Foods chief executive George Weston stressed the importance of slowing the coronavirus outbreak through reducing footfall in Primark stores when lockdown is lifted.
George explained: “Much as I would love to be allowed to reopen Primark stores across the UK, Continental Europe and the USA soon, because lockdown has so harmed our business and our supply chains, I know that we must not do so until we have suppressed this disease.
“And when we are allowed to reopen we must make our Primark stores safe for our staff and our customers, even if that means ensuring there are fewer people shopping at any one time and so accepting lower sales at least until the remaining risk is minimal.
“In time we can rebuild the profits. We can’t replace the people we lose.”
The chief executive’s statement accompanies the group’s latest financial reporting for the 24 weeks ending Feburary 29, which showed its group revenue as £7.64bn - a 2 per cent increase on the previous year.
George continued: “The group delivered an encouraging trading performance in the first half. The rapid spread of COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives and the human tragedy that continues to unfold has shocked and saddened us all.
“We are a strong, diversified and resilient group. Our people are working hard to maintain supply from our food businesses.
“Primark is managing through an extraordinarily challenging period after all of its stores closed in March and our management response to mitigate the cash outflows was swift and proportionate. Although uncertainty remains, we have the people and the cash resources to meet the challenges ahead.”
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