COVID-19 is having a “material” effect on duty free and travel retail operations, Imperial Brands announced in its results for the six months to the end of March 2020.

In the financial report’s outlook, the company said: “Market size declines have deteriorated due to significant restrictions on certain sales channels. This principally relates to a material decline in demand in our global duty free/travel retail operations with the cessation of international and cross border travel. Given the outlook for international travel, we are currently assuming no recovery in this business during the second half.”

Full results for Imperial Brands for the six months to the end of March 2020 (click to enlarge)

In the overall company results, revenue for the half was up +2% year-on-year to £14,672 million (US$17,727 million) and operating profit fell -19.6% year-on-year to £925 million (US$1,112 million).

Imperial Brands Joint Interim Chief Executives Dominic Brisby and Joerg Biebernick commented: “Overall, COVID-19 has so far had only a small impact on trading but we expect this to be more pronounced in the second half due to continued pressures on our duty free and travel retail business, changes in consumption patterns including downtrading and a reversal of some first-half inventory build.”