Primark to post strong increase in half year sales
Primark owner Associated British Foods has said that half year sales at the fashion retailer are expected to be 11% ahead of last year at constant currency, driven by increased retail selling space, and 21% ahead at actual exchange rates.
In a pre-close trading statement for the half year to 4 March, the company said Primark performed well in the UK with like-for-like sales expected to be 2% ahead of last year. Like-for-like sales for the group will be level but when a decline in the Netherlands due to a rapid increase in selling space is excluded, like-for-like sales will rise by 1%.
Markdowns were in line with the first half last year. As previously forecast, Associated British Foods expects Primark’s operating profit margin in the first half to decline, mainly as a result of the strength of the US dollar on input costs.
During the period, retail selling space increased by 0.8 million square feet. At 4 March 2017, 329 stores will be trading from 13.1 million square feet.
Some 16 new stores were opened including relocations in Reading and Sheffield and new UK stores in Carlisle, Stafford, Truro, York and Colchester. New shops were also launched in Ireland, Mallorca, Germany, France, Italy and The Netherlands. The company also opened its sixth store in the US in Burlington, Massachusetts.
In addition, Primark’s store at the Tottenham Court Road end of Oxford Street in London was extended by almost 40%, increasing square footage to 114,000 square feet.
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