Primark sales boost Associated British Foods’ first half earnings

Kasmira Jefford
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ASSOCIATED British Foods (ABF) said an “outstanding” performance from the conglomerate’s budget fashion chain Primark will help lift first-half profits ahead of the £412m reported last year.

The FTSE 100 group expects Primark sales to be up 23 per cent in the six months to 2 March, with like-for-like sales anticipated to be seven per cent higher, buoyed by a good performance over Christmas.

Primark also benefited from 15 new stores in Spain, Germany and the UK, including a second store on London’s Oxford Street.

The company – which also owns Twinings tea and Silverspoon sugar – relies on Primark for about a third of its profit, with sugar and groceries making up the rest.

It expects its first half profit from its sugar division will be lower than last year as a better performance from its main Illovo sugar business would be offset by a decline in China and a £22m charge for the mothballing of two small Chinese beet factories.

ABF said its full-year expectations were unchanged because the fall in sugar profits will offset gains at Primark.