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Primark sales surge thanks to boom in budget fashions

PRIMARK owner Associated British Foods (ABF) revealed healthy trading figures yesterday – mainly thanks to the budget fashion arm.

Primark’s 196-strong chain saw sales rise 19 per cent in the 16 weeks to 2 January, with house broker Panmure Gordon estimating a seven per cent like-for-like sales rise as consumers made their way to its doors for bargains in the downturn.

Group finance director John Bason said: “We are aware of the downturn, but in the UK Primark had a very good Christmas.”

Bason added Primark sales were led by fashion items, accessories and footwear as well as winter clothing in the recent cold weather spell across all of the country. ABF shares rose two per cent following the positive trading statement, but closed one per cent higher at 869p.

The London-based group, which markets Silver Spoon sugar, Twining tea and Ovaltine drinks, said it expected good revenue growth and a significant rise in operating profit in the year to September and was confident of a good rise in earnings.

The group saw sugar revenues up 68 per cent helped by high beet sugar yields in the UK.