Primark store openings and expansions drive owner ABF’s sales higher

Primark has reported higher revenues on the back of new store openings, as UK like-for-like sales dipped marginally lower.

The high street fashion chain’s growth helped drive revenues up at owner Associated British Foods (ABF), which saw group revenues rise 4% over the 16-week period to January 4.

Primark saw its UK sales grow by 4% as it benefited from new stores and expansions, while sales across the retailer were up 3%.

The company hailed “good trading” over November and December, despite highlighting a “marginal decline” in like-for-like sales.

Meanwhile, ABF said Primark saw sales in its Eurozone business jump 5.1% higher on the back of “strong progress in France and Italy”.

Primark said it heavily benefited from three store openings during the period, as well as site expansions.

It said it expects to open 18 new stores during the financial year as it continues its expansion programme.

Elsewhere, ABF was bolstered by its strengthening sugar business, which saw revenues increase 5% after EU sugar prices remained higher than over the same period last year.

It said lower costs in sugar production also mean that there will be a material improvement in profits from the sugar arm, particularly in the second half.

ABF said grocery sales were level against the same period last year, although profit margins improved.

Increased popularity of herbal teas in the UK and US helped to improve revenues at its Twinings division, while efficiencies in the tea supply chain also helped to improve profits.

ABF said operating losses at its troubled Allied Bakeries business, which makes Kingsmill bread, were reduced after “progress from cost reduction” more than offset lower sales.