Saturday 21 September 2019

Trendsetter: Primark bucks UK retail decline with strong performance

Penneys on Henry Street. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Penneys on Henry Street. Photo: Gerry Mooney
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Primark's profits surged 25pc to £426m (€492m) in the first half of its financial year, reflecting increased selling space and better margins, according to owner Associated British Foods (ABF).

Dublin-headquartered Primark, which trades as Penneys in Ireland, also continued to buck a poor UK retail trend, with "superior sales growth" and an increased share of the market, it said.

However, while Primark sales were 4.4pc higher in the period, overall like-for-like sales fell 1.5pc.

The company will reduce the size of what it said was a small number of its stores in Germany "to optimise their cost base".

ABF said trading in the German market continues to be difficult, and it has strengthened its management team there to address challenges.

Like-for-like sales fell 3.2pc in the eurozone during the first-half, primarily as a result of the tough German market and lower footfall in November in all its continental geographies.

But Primark also slashed losses in the United States, where it's been performing strongly.

"Our business in the US continued to perform strongly, driven by excellent trading at our recently opened Brooklyn store combined with like-for-like sales growth," it said.

Davy Stockbrokers expects the US to become profitable next year for Primark.

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