- Primark-owner Associated British Foods resumed its dividend payment at a lower rate after reporting that first-profit halved following a slump in Primark sales as the national lockdowns forced stores to shutter.

For the 24 weeks ended 27 February 2021, adjusted pre-tax profit fell 50% to £319 million year-on-year as revenue slipped 17% to £6.3 billion.

Primark's adjusted operating profit slumped 90% to about £43 million.

'Primark's performance in the first half was materially lower than expected impacted ... by extensive store closures and restrictions on trading,' the company said.

Revenue in its grocery, sugar, agriculture and ingredients businesses was ahead of the first half last year at constant currency, the company said.

The company declared an interim dividend of 6.2 pence per share, down from 12.05 pence per share last year.

Looking, the company said it continues to expect Primark profit to be lower than last year.

'With the reopening of stores in England and Wales last week, and expected reopenings in some markets over the coming weeks, we will be trading at the end of April from 68% of our retail selling space, which increases to 79% if stores with restricted trading are included,' the company said.

'We will increase our retail selling space with an additional nine stores opening in the second half,' it added.

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