// Harrods predicts 45% plunge in annual sales
// The luxury group saw visitor numbers drop by 95% since the Covid-19 pandemic struck the UK
Harrods managing director Michael Ward has warned that Asian and US tourists may not return to the luxury department store until 2022.
The group is anticipating a 45 per cent drop in annual sales as visitors to its Knightsbridge shop have plunged by 95 per cent to less than 4500 per day.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Harrods saw an average of 80,000 daily shoppers.
Ward said that due to restrictions on overseas travel, revenues this year expected to be 45 per cent lower than in 2019 and still 35 per cent down in 2021.
The company reported sales of £868.5 million for the year to February 2, 2019.
Harrods’ EU and UK customers currently account for just 30 per cent of revenue, while the rest is from US and Asian tourists.
Ward expects a return to growth for Harrods in 2023.
Last month, Harrods launched a pop-up store at Westfield London in a bid to sell excess seasonal stock unsold due to the pandemic, in a space designed to support social distancing.
As first revealed in May, the 80,000sq ft, two-storey store sells womenswear, menswear, beauty, accessories, childrenswear and home.
Separately, Harrods’ struggles manifested when earlier this month it said it was poised to make almost 700 staff members redundant.
Ward said at the time that 680 jobs out of its 4800-strong workforce – or around 14 per cent – will be axed.
The job cuts would come “in parts of the business that have been most affected by the challenges of lockdown”.