Primark sales climb by 15%
Although like-for-like sales in the autumn were impacted by the unseasonably warm weather, trading in the run-up to Christmas was strong.
While the retailer’s UK, Ireland and Iberia businesses have all achieved like-for-like sales growth in the year to date, total like-for-like sales growth for the group was held back in the 16 weeks by the impact on existing stores of new store openings in the Netherlands and Germany. However, total sales in northern continental Europe were well ahead of last year.
As a result of the weakening of the euro against sterling, total Primark sales in the period were 12% ahead of the same time last year at actual exchange rates. Operating profit margin in the period was in line with expectations but lower than last year as a result of a higher level of mark-down.
Primark’s retail selling space has increased by 0.5 million square feet since the financial year end and at 3 January 287 stores were trading from 10.7 million square feet of retail selling space. The retailer opened ten new stores in the 16 week period including the relocation of its Northampton store to larger premises.
Primark owner Associated British Foods said the retailer has made good progress in building its management team in the US ahead of its launch in the country in late 2015. It has signed eight leases in the north east of the country, including seven from Sears, and a lease has been signed for warehouse space in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.
Looking across the wider Associated British Foods group, revenue for the 16 week period was 3% ahead of the same period last year at constant currency, and was 1% ahead at actual exchange rates.
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