PRIMARK has announced the reopening of its 20 Scottish stores on Monday after record sales south of the Border when restrictions were eased just over a week ago.

Stores will reopen in locations including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Greenock, Perth and Dunfermline as shopping restrictions are relaxed in Scotland.

Primark owner Associated British Foods chief executive George Weston said: "We are excited about welcoming customers back into our stores as the lockdowns ease and are delighted with record sales in England and Wales in the week after reopening on 12 April.

"With our success in a number of new markets, as wide-ranging as Poland and Florida, we are as convinced as we have ever been in the long-term growth prospects for Primark."

The firm said: "At the time of our last trading update on February 25 we were trading from 77 stores representing 22% of our retail selling space. Our stores in England and Wales reopened on April 12, which we expect to be followed by our 20 stores in Scotland on April 26."

It comes as Primark's owner says it will repay £121 million in furlough money claimed under government job retention schemes and pay out a dividend to shareholders despite a slump in profits.

ABF said the decision comes despite stores remaining closed for most of the autumn and winter period, leading to revenues and profits plunging.

READ MORE: Solicitors join forces to launch new law firm

Sales were down 17% to £6.3 billion and adjusted operating profits fell 50% to £319 million in the six months to February 27.

Mr Weston said the repayments would be made as he was confident stores will become cash generative following the easing of restrictions in England and Wales, where 40% of Primark selling space is located.

He said the company claimed £98 million during the previous financial year to support Primark's 65,000 workforce.

"A further £79 million was claimed in the six months to February 27 and up until today the amount is now £121 million", the company said.

Chairman Michael McLintock added: "On the assumption that our English and Welsh stores remain open, Primark will return to cash generation.

"Accordingly, we do not plan to make any further claims from government job retention schemes for which we would be eligible from this date, and we intend to repay the £121 million referred to above. This includes the repayment of £72 million to the UK Government."

A dividend of 6.2p a share was declared, worth £49 million, having scrapped any dividend payments last year.

The company said it expects to be trading from 68% of selling space by the end of April.

West Highland hotel poised for big reveal

HeraldScotland: The hotel is opening on MondayThe hotel is opening on Monday

AN HISTORIC West Highland Hotel is poised to reopen following a major refurbishment.

READ MORE: Ballachulish Hotel in Glencoe will relaunch this coming Monday after undergoing a £1.3 million revamp.

Pub owner hails southside beer garden

HeraldScotland: The venue has been hailed by the owner.The venue has been hailed by the owner.

AN East Renfrewshire pub has created what it believes is one of the biggest beer gardens on the south side of Glasgow.

READ MORE: Rick Houston of The Cartvale at Busby has been working on the project since January.

Sign up

You can now have the new enhanced bulletin with the top business news stories sent direct to your email inbox twice-daily, and Business Week for the weekly round-up on Sunday, by clicking below:

HeraldScotland: Herald Newsletter daily banner