Primark, a popular fashion retailer, is making a strong recovery in trading following the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has experienced a quicker reopening of its stores than expected, particularly in Ireland. Out of its 375 stores, 367 have already reopened, with the remaining eight set to follow soon.

The reopening of stores has resulted in encouraging trading results for Primark. There has been strong consumer demand for children’s, leisure, and nightwear, as well as summer items like shorts and T-shirts. However, formal menswear and travel-related accessories have experienced weaker demand.

While regional stores, especially those in retail parks, have performed well, stores located in city centers have been significantly affected by lower footfall due to the lack of tourism and commuting. The company has also had to deal with varying operating restrictions in different countries.

Despite facing a 12% decline in sales compared to last year during the seven-week period ending on June 20, Primark remains optimistic about its trading performance as it continues to improve. In fact, sales for the week ending on June 20 reached £133 million, and trading in England and Ireland exceeded the previous year’s levels.

However, the closure of stores during the lockdown period resulted in significant financial losses for Primark. The company experienced monthly sales losses of approximately £650 million while its stores were closed from March to May. Unfortunately, since Primark does not have an online presence, it was unable to make up for these losses. Additionally, the company had to cover monthly expenses of around £100 million during this period.

To mitigate the financial impact, Primark has been working with landlords to negotiate fair rent payments during the closed period. The company has made progress in reaching agreements for equitable outcomes and has already paid most of the UK rent payments due from March to September.

Looking towards the future, Primark remains focused and optimistic. The company has already placed orders worth over £800 million for the AW20 season, and total orders for the upcoming season are expected to exceed £1 billion. Despite delays in its store opening plans, Primark has managed to open five new stores this quarter and aims to open five more by the end of the financial year.

Overall, Primark is hopeful for a successful recovery. With its stores trading again and strong demand for certain product categories, the company is taking proactive steps to manage the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Useful Links:
1. [Primark Official Website](https://www.primark.com/)
2. [COVID-19 Impact on Fashion Retailers](https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/intelligence/how-covid-19-will-impact-fashion-brands-retailers)