Associated British Foods has warned today that it expected to lose sales worth £1.1 billion from the lockdown of its stores at fast-fashion chain Primark in the first half of its financial year. 

The group said it expected Primark's sales in the first half to February 27 to be about £2.2 billion and adjusted operating profit to be marginally above break-even. 

Primark trades as Penneys here. 

Due to the restrictions placed on Primark in Ireland, the UK and across Europe it forecast sales, adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share for the group as a whole to be lower than last year.  

But the group said it was looking forward to reopening Primark stores and as of Thursday had likely reopening dates for 233 stores in addition to the 77 stores already open. 

Some 83% of its retail space should be trading by April 26, it added. 

"We expect the period after reopening to be highly cash generative," it said. 

AB Foods also has a grocery division, whose brands include Kingsmill bread and Twinings tea, as well as major sugar, agriculture and ingredients businesses. 
 
It forecast revenue and profit in all of these units to be ahead of both expectations and the first half of last year.