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Primark/Penneys drives sales at owner AB Foods


Penneys is planning to open its first US store in Boston

Penneys is planning to open its first US store in Boston

Penneys is planning to open its first US store in Boston

Associated British Foods maintained its full-year earnings forecast on Monday, as progress at budget retailer Primark and in its grocery, ingredients and agriculture businesses helps to offset declines in its sugar unit and a currency hit.

The firm said it still expected a "modest" decline in group adjusted earnings per share (EPS) in the financial year which ends this week, from the 104.1 pence made in the previous year.

AB Foods stuck with its forecast despite saying that the strengthening pound would hit its results by more than previously expected.

The negative impact on the translation of overseas results would now be some 30 million pounds ($46 million), the company said, up from previous guidance of 25 million pounds.

Analysts are forecasting EPS of 98.3 pence for the company's financial year which ends Sept 12, according to Reuters data.

Sales at clothing retailer Primark, which contributes over half of AB Foods' annual profit, are expected to be about 13 percent ahead of last year on a constant currency basis, driven by the opening of new stores in the Netherlands and Germany.

At actual exchange rates, sales will be 8 percent ahead, reflecting the weakening of the euro against the pound.

The low-cost fashion retailer is targeting expansion in the U.S., Spain, France and Italy to fuel future growth and will open its first U.S. store in Boston on Sept. 10.

Shares in AB Foods, which will report its full-year results on Nov. 3, have risen 7 percent over the last year, and closed at 3,139 pence on Friday valuing the company at 25 billion pounds ($38 billion)