Primark’s Union Jack sales boost profits at Associated British Food

Kasmira Jefford
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ASSOCIATED British Food’s chief executive has said customers snapping up Primark’s Union Jack themed merchandise during the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee helped spur a 17 per cent rise in group full-year profit.

George Weston said the discount fashion chain sold more than 7.5m items stamped with the flag as Brits and overseas visitors bought into the celebrations.

Primark’s profits jumped 15 per cent to £356m in the year to 15 September on revenues up by the same amount to £3.5bn.

“All categories in all countries are performing well. Menswear is particularly well as outerwear within womenswear, which is probably the weather effect,” Weston said.

He added that sales showed no sign of abating in October despite figures from the British Retail Consortium yesterday showing a slowdown in October.

“We had a strong beginning to the new financial year but that was up against very hot weather last year when retailers found it more difficult to shift its autumn ranges,” he said.

Primark has been one of the best performers on the high street and has been aggressively expanding, adding three stores in UK and 16 in Europe in the period bringing its estate to 242.

Primark’s performance, together with a 25 per cent jump in revenues at ABF’s sugar division helped the group deliver pre-tax profits of £974m on revenues up 11 per cent to £12.3bn.

The company said it did not expect its sugar division to perform as strongly in the year ahead, due to lower EU production, but it would be more than offset by further growth at Primark and some recovery in its grocery business, which includes its Twinings and Ryvita brands.