Thursday 16 January 2020 8:29 am

Primark UK store sales dip as retailer outlines expansion plans

Primark’s like-for-like UK in-store sales dipped over the Christmas trading period, the budget retailer announced this morning. 

The high street chain’s owner Associated British Foods (ABF) said today that there was a “marginal decline” in like-for-like UK sales in the 16 weeks to 4 January.

However, the impact of extra store space boosted total UK sales growth to four per cent. 

Primark’s overall sales – taking its international business into account – were up 4.5 per cent, due “almost entirely” to an increase in selling space. Like-for-like performance improved due to strong Eurozone sales. 

The fast fashion retailer has increased its retail selling space by 200,000 sq ft since the end of the financial year. Three new stores opened in the period, in Spain, Germany, and Italy. 

The company also relocated to a larger store in Porto, Portugal, extended a branch in Norwich. It reduced selling space in Germany.

Primark also revealed plans to open 18 new stores in this financial year, adding a net 900,000 sq ft of selling space. 

“These solid numbers demonstrate that retailers offering a unique proposition, stand-out in the market and have a laser-like focus on executing their vision can continue to thrive,” Richard Lim, chief executive at Retail Economics, said.

“There’s no doubt that market conditions are challenging but the retailer is activity reshuffling their store portfolio and benefitting from a weaker retail property market when renegotiating leases and rents.

“The investment in creating meaningful in-store experiences which merge services and entertainment to sit alongside their retail offering has driven sustainable levels of footfall.”

Aside from the Primark business, ABF said its sugar division’s revenue was expected to grow seven per cent, while grocery sales remained flat.

Agriculture revenue were 10 per cent ahead of last year, and its ingredients division secured sales growth of three per cent.