Primark helps AB Foods buck market gloom

 
Kasmira Jefford
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PRIMARK owner Associated British Foods said it is set to enjoy a jump in full year profits thanks to a strong performance at the group’s discount fashion retailer, which continued to strike a chord with cash-strapped shoppers.

Sales at Primark for the year to 15 September are expected to be 17 per cent ahead of last year at constant currency, with like-for-like sales up three per cent.

“Trading this summer in the UK was particularly strong and sales in continental Europe remained buoyant,” the group said of Primark in a bullish end of financial year trading statement.

ABF said trading in new stores has exceeded expectations, with the Berlin store recording Primark’s most successful ever first day of sales – beating even Oxford Street.

Primark will have added 19 new stores and 900,000 square feet of new space by the year end, taking the total estate to 242 stores.

This includes a second flagship store on Oxford Street, which is due to open on 20 September.

ABF, which also sells Silver Spoon sugar and Twinings tea, said profits at its sugar business for the full year will be considerably higher than last year thanks to rises in European and African sales, which have helped to offset falling prices in China.

Analysts expect the group’s sugar division to deliver full-year profits of around £500m, up from £315m the previous year. The group produced 1.3m tonnes of sugar in the UK, up from one million a year ago due to a mild winter.

ABF is due to report full-year results on 6 November.