Primark's Penneys stores here last year took a €72.1m retail revenue hit due to Covid-19 enforced closures.

The first set of accounts made available by Primark show Penneys’ Irish retail revenues in the 53 weeks to 18 September last totalled €482.2m.

This is a €72.1m or 13% decline on the retail revenues of €554.38m for the prior 52 week period.

The €482.2m in revenues for the 53 weeks work out at the average weekly revenues of €9m for the Irish network of Penneys stores.

Outlining the Covid-19 impact on the business, the directors state that all Irish stores closed from 22 October 2020 until 30 November 2020.

The company’s stores re-opened for the Christmas period in early December but closed in January 2021 and did not reopen until 10 May 2021.

Despite the Covid-19 impact, the accounts disclose that the company repaid the €22.9m it received in Covid-19 wage subsidy supports from the Government concerning store closures during the period.

The accounts disclose that, since year end, the firm has paid out cash dividends totalling €475m - €200m last October and €275m in January 2022.

This followed the business - owned by Associated British Foods - last year paying out no dividend after paying out dividends of €150m in the prior period.

Primark opened its first store in Dublin in 1969 under the name Penneys and today operates in over 380 stores in thirteen countries across Europe and America.

That include 37 Penneys stores here.

Primark Milan

The directors state that it was very much the case in Ireland that Primark’s operations responded with agility and confidence to the restrictions in place.

Unlike other major retail brands, Penneys was not able to rely on online sales to make up for some of the lost sales during Covid-19 shut-downs of its 'bricks and mortar’ outlets.

The directors state that they "expect the company’s full year sales and profit to be higher next year with the removal of Covid-19 restrictions".

The directors state that "it was clear how enduring and relevant the Primark brand and proposition remained for customers, evidenced from the strong demand in each market upon respective re-openings".

The directors state that they intend to invest over €250m in the Irish market over the next 10 years including creating 700 more jobs in Ireland and over the next three years increasing selling space here by 20%.

The directors state that "this investment reinforces the company's long term commitment to Ireland, high street retail and local communities across the country".

The directors state that this investment includes a new 43,400 sq ft store at The Square, Tallaght this Autumn and a relocated store in Dundrum which will feature 60,000 sq ft in retail space.

Existing store redevelopments including a €60m investment in the Patrick Street store in Cork city and a €20m investment in the Eyre Square Store in Galway.

The overall revenues for Primark Ltd last year totalled €2.36 billion - an increase of 4% on the overall revenues of €2.27 billion in the prior 12 months.

Higher costs resulted in pre-tax profits declining by 70%; from €63.3m to €18.9m.

The bulk of revenues were made up of inter-company supplies of inventory at €1.61 billion, the Irish retail revenues of €482.2m and revenues of Primark Way franchise income of €263.9m.

The Primark Way franchise is a business format which is developed and run from Ireland and provides Primark intellectual property, know-how and services to Primark businesses overseas.

A 10% decrease in Primark Way franchise income arose to Covid-19 related store closures across the global estate.

Numbers employed by the firm last year increased by 237 from 6,039 to 6,275.

Staff costs increased marginally to €233.8m.

At the end of 18 September last, Primark Ltd’s accumulated profits stood at €1.3 billion.