Primark continues to pile on the pressure on its high street rivals, particularly Marks & Spencer which reports tomorrow, as it said sales and profits had grown by more than 10 per cent in the past four weeks.
The news comes just days after Next and SuperGroup issued profit downgrades on the back of the warm start to the autumn.
“We’ve sold fewer hats and fewer gloves,” said George Weston, chief executive of Primark owner Associated British Foods. “But Primark had a magnificent year through to mid-September and that momentum has continued.
“We are not immune to the weather but our ranges have gone down very well and we are still growing space.”
Primark sales rose by 16 per cent to £5 billion in the year to September 13 with operating profits up 29 per cent at £662 million, both in actual currency rates.
Same-store sales were up 4 per cent but the group added 1.4 million square feet of new selling space. That is the same size as the entire Primark chain when it opened its 100th store 14 years ago. Today it is seven times that.
Video: The latest business news
Primark’s growth helped counter a 56 per cent fall in profit in ABF’s sugar division. Sugar prices have been falling sharply and hit a global low of 13 cents a pound earlier this year against 36 cents only three years ago.
Weston said: “We have spent a lot of effort improving efficiency and British sugar enjoyed a very good harvest thanks to good growing conditions. Prices were substantially down particularly across Europe.”
He said the group expects “a further large reduction in profit” from sugar in the current year but said it was now well placed for when quotas come off in 2017.
Elsewhere Twinings teas and Jordans cereals were the stand-out performers in groceries. Twinings has overtaken Tetley to take second place in the UK tea market behind Unilever’s PG Tips.
Jordans recently got the go-ahead to take over Dorset Cereals, giving it a very strong position in the “healthier” breakfast cereals market.Reuse content