// Primark & Superdry reopen stores in Europe, offering clues into consumer behaviours
// Primark resumed trading at 5 Austrian stores and 20 Dutch stores at the start of last week
// Superdry reopened more than 60 stores in Germany, Austria, Denmark & Sweden
Primark and Superdry have reportedly received a boost from reopening stores across Europe in moves that offer early clues as to how customers may behave once the coronavirus lockdown is eventually eased in the UK.
Primark, owned by AB Foods, resumed trading at five of its stores in Austria at the start of last week, followed by 20 shops in The Netherlands.
Reopening stores may prove a challenge for the retailer, as it does not have an online channel and has seen its revenue slump to zero since mid-March, when the last of its 375 stores closed, Financial Times reported.
- Primark senior staff return to stores to begin reopening
- Superdry mulls financing options as coronavirus hits sales
As a result, Primark has stopped rent payments and has also cancelled orders while using government schemes across Europe to put redundancies into action.
AB Foods finance director John Bason said overall footfall at the reopened stores was down and spread more evenly throughout the week.
However, basket sizes were larger — with sales rising in ranges such as nightwear, health and beauty and childrenswear.
Last week, some Primark staff in the UK returned to stores as part of efforts to prepare them for reopening once the coronavirus lockdown is lifted.
Over the past few days, Primark’s store and assistant managers have spent time completing administrative tasks necessary for an eventual reopening.
Meanwhile, Superdry reopened more than 60 of its stores in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Sweden, and said initial trading had exceeded its expectations.
Chief executive Julian Dunkerton said it was still “early days” to predict but the company has moved from a 70 per cent decline to 30 per cent.
Dunkerton added that rather than purchasing discounted ranges, consumers were buying more trendy new-season garments.
Moreover, Primark is expecting to start reopening its stores in Belgium on Monday and Italy later next week.
The number of customers allowed in its stores is determined by its floor area: in Austria, the current ratio is one person for every 10 square metres.
Extra security personnel have been recruited to ensure compliance, every second checkout is closed and those that are open have Plexiglas screens fitted.
Meanwhile, fitting rooms are out of use and only one person at a time is allowed in lifts.