'Excellent' Christmas for Primark

File photo dated 18/03/11 of Primark in Manchester city centre as Primark has revealed

%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%Primark revealed "excellent" Christmas trading today as the discount chain maintained its squeeze on struggling rival Marks & Spencer.

Sales for the Europe-wide business rose 14% in the 16 weeks to January 4, driven by an 8% increase in selling space and more strong growth at stores which have been trading for more than year.
In contrast to the performances of Primark and rival Next, which has already posted a surge in sales, M&S's general merchandise sales were down 2.1% for the 13 weeks to December 28. Its boss, Marc Bolland, blamed a vicious Christmas price war for the decline.

Primark, which has 161 of its 257 stores in the UK, is on course for further profits growth this year, on top of the 44% jump in profits to £514 million recently announced for the year to September.

Its owner, Associated British Foods, said that like-for-like growth already achieved and further store expansion meant Primark's profit "will be well ahead of last year".

AB Foods, which also owns leading food brands Ryvita, Twinings and Kingsmill, said Primark's strong performance offset a 28% fall in revenues at its sugar business due to a slump in global prices.

Sales volumes at Kingsmill owner Allied Bakeries were higher despite strong competition, while Twinings Ovaltine saw strong growth for tea in the UK and United States.

Anusha Couttigane, an analyst at retail consultancy Conlumino, said: "Primark remains the jewel in the crown for Associated British Foods.

"Primark is no longer the only retailer to offer fast, seriously cheap, fashion. However, the company's sustained reaction to fast fashion means it is still the number one destination for many buying into temporary trends on a budget.

"It is, therefore, unsurprising that this Christmas established Primark as the prime destination for onesies, capitalising on a key winterwear trend."

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'Excellent' Christmas for Primark

This takes time, but once you know the cost of a phone call, putting the dryer on, or a bag of potatoes, it enables you to judge far better how much you can afford to consume.

Once you know the base price, you are in a position to keep your eyes open for a better offer. If you see a discount you can judge for yourself whether it actually constitutes a bargain. For bigger things like utilities it enables you to do a proper price comparison and see if you can cut your bills.

Don't just assume that the premium range is better, try the every-day brand, or even the basic version and see if you spot the difference. Likewise, consider trading down your supermarket from one of the big players to local markets or discounters like Aldi.

If you plan what you buy to match what you actually cook and eat then not only will you be able to budget far more effectively, but you'll also waste much less and find your money goes further without you having to try.

If you can't think of a way to get your meat for less, consider a vegetarian day once a week. If you can't find petrol any cheaper, then work on making your driving as efficient as possible. The more you can think of clever alternatives the less you will have to make painful cuts to make ends meet.


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