Business World

Saturday 21 September 2019

Primark profits jump as bargain-hunters drive sales

British TV presenter Stacey Solomon has a collection for Primark
British TV presenter Stacey Solomon has a collection for Primark Business Desk

Primark has notched up a surge in half-year profits as British shoppers continue to flock to the budget retailer.

The firm, owned by Associated British Foods, saw adjusted operating profit jump 25pc to £426m (€492m) in the six months to March 2, while sales grew 4pc to £3.6bn (€4bn).

Like-for-like sales fell 1.5pc overall but profit margins were "much higher", ABF said.

In the UK, sales were up 2.3pc, and comparable sales grew 0.6pc.

The firm said its share of the clothing, footwear and accessories market in the UK increased substantially in the period, bucking the trend of wider high street malaise.

The strong Primark performance helped ABF record a 2pc rise in turnover to £7.5bn, although pre-tax profit was dragged down by a £79m exceptional charge linked to pensions and its bread-making arm.

Pre-tax profit came in 15pc lower at £515m in the period.

ABF's sugar unit also saw profits take a knock as the result of "significantly lower" prices which affected the industry.

Profits dived from £106m to £1m.

ABF chief executive George Weston said: "This is a robust set of results. Profit at AB Sugar was substantially reduced but, from this period, we expect our sugar profitability to improve. The strong underlying growth in Grocery profits demonstrates good momentum.

"Primark delivered excellent profit growth, driven by further development of our customer experience and selling space expansion."

ABF's grocery arm recorded a 3pc sales rise to £1.7bn while profits jumped 2pc at constant currency to £167m.

PA Media

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