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June 1, 2020, 8:58 a.m. EDT

Primark’s owner rallies as most stores to reopen in June without discounting

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By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

Getty Images
People line up, respecting social distancing, to enter a Primark store on May 15, 2020, in Berlin, Germany.

Shares of Primark owner Associated British Foods rallied on Monday as the company said most of the clothing retailer would be open by the end of the month.

Associated British Foods /zigman2/quotes/204493701/delayed UK:ABF -1.55%  shares climbed 8.4% as the company said 79% of the selling space at Primark would be open by the middle of the month. Cumulative sales since reopening, on a like-for-like basis, were down on the same period last year in aggregate, but for a number of stores, sales were ahead of last year, the retailer said.

Crucially, the retailer said that while inventory is ahead of normal at £1.5 billion versus a typical £900 million, there won’t be a need for special discounting.

England more broadly allowed car dealerships to reopen on Monday, with nonessential retailers — like Primark — being able to open in the middle of the month.

The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.45%  climbed 0.9%, in a catch-up rally to Wall Street after President Donald Trump on Friday didn’t escalate his reaction to China imposing a new national security law on Hong Kong.

Standard Chartered /zigman2/quotes/200125072/delayed UK:STAN -0.86% , the Asia-focused bank, surged nearly 8%. Jefferies upgraded the lender to buy from underperform, saying the risks around Hong Kong — 25% of business volumes — are asymmetric to the upside.

Jefferies downgraded HSBC /zigman2/quotes/203901799/delayed UK:HSBA +0.33%  to neutral from buy, though it said the bank has probably been overpenalized for its Hong Kong exposure. HSBC shares rose 1.4%.

UK : U.K.: London
1,752.00 p
-27.50 -1.55%
Volume: 674,291
Oct. 21, 2021 4:35p
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
£14.06 billion
Rev. per Employee
-32.80 -0.45%
Volume: 554,176
Oct. 21, 2021 4:52p
UK : U.K.: London
484.80 p
-4.20 -0.86%
Volume: 4.50M
Oct. 21, 2021 4:35p
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
£15.06 billion
Rev. per Employee
UK : U.K.: London
434.75 p
+1.45 +0.33%
Volume: 17.31M
Oct. 21, 2021 4:35p
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
£88.51 billion
Rev. per Employee

Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch markets editor for Europe. Follow him on Twitter: @MKTWgoldstein.

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