ABF boosted by record Christmas sales at Primark
Sales were 9% ahead of the corresponding period in the previous year at actual exchange rates. The company said the retailer achieved record sales in the week before Christmas.
While the UK saw "strong" like-for-like sales growth in the period, growth across Europe was held back by unseasonably warm weather in October. This was followed by good trading in the five weeks leading up to Christmas.
ABF now expects operating margins in its first half to be close to those in the same period in the previous year with better buying virtually offsetting the adverse effect of the weaker sterling/US dollar exchange rate on purchases.
At 6 January 2018, 350 stores were trading from 14.2 million square feet compared to 13.1 million square feet a year ago. New stores were opened in the period in Bielefeld, Munster and Stuttgart in Germany, Charlton in the UK and Loulé in the Algarve.
Across the wider ABF group, which includes sugar, agriculture, grocery and ingredients businesses, revenue from continuing operations in the period was 4% ahead of the prior year at constant currency.
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