Penneys owner Associated British Foods (ABF) has said it will face a £650 million (€723 million) hit from Covid-19 after tougher restrictions in Ireland and the UK forced more stores to close.
It represents a more-than 50 per cent increase from the £430 million impact it warned investors about earlier this month.
ABF said it will lose more money than previously predicted as stores will shut their doors in the Republic after close of business on Thursday in line with changes to restrictions.
On Wednesday, the British government said a number of regions in the UK would move into the harshest Covid-19 restrictions, which include the closure of non-essential retail stores.
The group said that 253 Primark stores in the UK will be temporarily closed, as of January 1st.
It said the closures represent 64 per cent of the retailer’s total selling space.
Prior to Christmas, Penneys opened some of its stores throughout the night to maximise sales and spread out customer numbers.
Earlier this month, the budget fashion brand said it had recovered some of the costs, with overheads falling 25 per cent during the autumn lockdowns, with early signs showing that reopened stores were seeing strong sales in December.
Shares in the company dropped 1.6 per cent lower on the London Stock Exchange after it provided the update to shareholders.