Primark owner Associated British Foods’ (ABF.L) decision not to pay an interim dividend to shareholders was “absolutely the right thing to do” given the coronavirus crisis, its boss said on Tuesday.
Omitting the payment for the first time in two decades would save the company about 100 million pounds, Chief Executive George Weston said.
“At a time when we have significant negative cash flow and while we’ve got suppliers and staff suffering because of this (crisis), it would be entirely inappropriate to pay a dividend,” he said.
Due to the pandemic all of Primark’s 376 stores in 12 countries have been closed since March 22, representing a loss of 650 million pounds of net sales per month.
Weston said the only country where Primark had visibility on stores re-opening was Austria. He expects the group’s five stores there to re-open in the first week of May.