BOSSES at Primark's owner have said its high street stores could extend their opening hours for Christmas shoppers when they can open their doors again.

ABF finance chief John Bason told the PA news agency that the company expects “strong” demand when stores reopen following the latest Covid-19 lockdown in England.

Primark has stores in Southampton and Winchester.

“We are absolutely looking at longer opening hours,” he said.

“Safety will be paramount and our teams have worked very well to deal with demand and ensure queue management so will continue to work hard to adapt to demand ahead of Christmas.

“We’ve seen very strong sales over the past few days and would expect similar today and tomorrow," he said on Tuesday.

His comments came as ABF reported lower profits for the past financial year in its latest stock market update.

The group said it would be affected by recently announced lockdown restrictions across Europe, which will see its UK stores shut their doors temporarily from Thursday until at least December 2.

ABF said the new restrictions would have a “significant” impact on Primark, although it still expects sales and profits at the retailer during the current financial year to be higher.

In a separate update on Monday, it warned that the latest closures are expected to result in a £375million loss of sales ahead of the key Christmas period.

On Tuesday, it told investors it lost around £800m from Primark during the three-month closure from March, as it continued to pay suppliers.

But it reported that sales gradually recovered after the closure period, with sales of children’s clothes, leisurewear and nightwear surpassing pre-Covid levels.

ABF’s retail business saw sales for the year slump 24 per cent to £5.9billion, although the group reported an 11 per cent fall in revenues to £13.9bn as it hailed solid performances in its grocery, sugar and ingredients arms.

ABF reported that operating profit slid by 40 per cent to £810m for the year to September 12 after being weighed down by lower revenues.