Primark is closing all of its stores, a loss of roughly £650m worth of net sales a month, and will stop placing new orders with suppliers, its parent company said today as the coronavirus outbreak deepens. 

Primark, which trades as Penneys here, closed all of its Irish shops last Thursday.

Governments in several countries are heavily curtailing the movement of people in order to stop the spread of the pandemic, which has killed thousands and caused disruption to livelihoods around the world. 

"A variety of work streams have been established to mitigate the effect of the contribution lost from these sales and all expenditure is being reviewed," Primark's owner Associated British Foods said today. 

"We currently estimate being able to recover some 50% of total operating costs." 

The clothing retailer, which accounts for about half of the group's revenue and profit, has shut all of its 376 outlets in 12 countries until further notice.

AB Foods said it has not seen a material impact on its sugar, grocery, ingredients and agriculture operations. Its total available liquidity stands at £1.9 billion.