Strong sales at Primark boost profits for AB Food

STRONG sales at cut price clothing retailer Primark have helped fuel a “substantial rise in profits” for parent company Associated British Food.

The London-based group yesterday said in a trading update it expected a jump in half-year earnings and a strong full year. Its 196-strong discount chain Primark saw an eight per cent rise in sales – with stores in Spain performing particularly well.

Finance director Jason Bason said: “Primark’s momentum is improving, it’s an amazing performance especially since January and February were hit by terrible weather in the UK and the current retail environment.”

AB Food shares hit a high of 951p – their highest since May 2007 – after the announcement.
Five new Primark stores were opened in the first half and it expects to unveil a further six in its second half. It has also has bought 10 Bhs stores in Britain to be refitted and opened in its next financial year. Bason said the grocery division performance was improving as the economy recovered.

The group, which also markets Kingsmill bread, will announce its half-year results on 27 February and its full-year on 20 April.