Primark sales boosted by new store openings
Primark owner Associated British Foods said sales at Primark were 7% ahead of last year at constant currency in the 16 weeks to 2 January as trade was boosted by an increase in retail selling space over the year.
As a result of the weakening of the euro against sterling, total sales were 3% ahead of the same period last year at actual exchange rates.
ABF said Primark’s like-for-like sales performance in the first seven weeks of the financial year was strong, following a weaker performance in the prior year when the autumn was unseasonably warm. In the following nine weeks, like-for-like sales were weaker as a result of warmer and wetter weather across Europe during the peak Christmas trading period.
As expected, operating profit margin in the period was lower than last year as a result of the stronger US dollar. ABF said the retailer’s margin reduction was lower than initially envisaged as a result of the actions of its buying teams and a lower level of markdowns arising from a well-managed stock position.
Primark’s new 1.1 million square foot UK warehouse in Islip, Northamptonshire is currently under construction and will open by summer 2016. In addition, a warehouse in Roosendaal in the Netherlands will open later in the year.
Across the wider ABF group, which includes sugar, grocery, and agriculture and ingredients businesses, group revenue for the 16 weeks was 3% ahead of the same period last year at constant currency, and 2% behind at actual exchange rates.