ASSOCIATED British Foods yesterday said it was on track for a big rise in full-year adjusted earnings as cash-strapped shoppers braved wet weather to snap up budget fashions at its Primark clothing chain.
The FTSE 100 company, which also owns brands such as Silver Spoon sugar and Twinings tea, said a 16 per cent growth in sales at Primark helped boost group revenues by 11 per cent for the 40 weeks to 23 June.
The retailer’s UK stores enjoyed a “good” trading period with the exception of April when cold and wet weather led to weak sales, the company said.
In the sugar business, year-to-date revenues rose 28 per cent. The group said the recent commercial environment had been strong in Europe and to a lesser extent Africa, but prices in China had continued to fall since the half-year.
ABF’s grocery business – where year-to-date revenues rose three per cent – faced fierce price competition because of pressure on UK household incomes, though the Silver Spoon sugar brand received a boost from home-baking for street parties over the Diamond Jubilee holiday weekend.
Finance director John Bason said he was a strong believer that the Olympics would have a positive affect on the UK economy: “People will be looking to Primark in the capital. People will be eating food and we provide basic staples for food. I think the Olympics will be good for us.”