Sales at Primark continue to boom

AB Foods, the owner of the high street chain, has revealed Primark sales jumped 20 per cent in the 40 weeks to June

BY Euan Stuart LAST UPDATED AT 09:50 ON Thu 9 Jul 2009

Third quarter sales at the discount fashion chain Primark, covering the period from March into June, rose 21 per cent, with revenue growth at the company's existing stores said to be "excellent" and the increase in shop space also contributing to the strong improvement.

The group now has 190 outlets after rapid expansion in the UK and has opened its first stores in Germany and Portugal and a further shop in Barcelona. The chain has benefitted from the credit crunch, with demand for its cheap clothes soaring, however it was pioneering the format as long ago as 1969. It now employs over 27,000 workers in total.

Parent company Associated British Foods saw its own total group sales – which includes the Silver Spoon sugar business, Twinings tea and the Kingsmill bakery - increase by 19 per cent in the financial year so far and 15 per cent in the third quarter. Its sugar operations alone saw a 21 per cent rise in the financial year to date.

The company said "Trading for the group since the half year remains on track to deliver the anticipated progress in operating profit for the second half. We still expect little change in earnings for the full year as the increase in operating profit will be broadly offset by a higher interest charge."

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING:

Graham Jones, analyst at broker Panmure Gordon, in Retail Week: "Primark's sales growth is even better than its impressive H1 performance. This is a hugely impressive performance given the economy and performances by its peers, although we believe weather must have been a factor. We still expect a margin squeeze in H2, due to the new UK distribution centre and US dollar impact, which we expect to peak in the autumn before easing in the new year." · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.