Primark shows the way with soaring sales

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The Independent Online

One of the retailers luring business away from Marks & Spencer is Primark, the discount clothier which yesterday unveiled soaring sales and plans to increase dramatically the number of its stores.

One of the retailers luring business away from Marks & Spencer is Primark, the discount clothier which yesterday unveiled soaring sales and plans to increase dramatically the number of its stores.

In stark contrast to M&S, Primark posted sales growth of 5 per cent for the six months to the end of February and said the figure would have been nearer 10 per cent had it not been slashing prices to attract new customers.

"I think people are looking to the value-for-money sector for their T-shirts, their underwear and their standard jeans and sweaters," said Peter Jackson, the chief executive of Primark's parent company, Associated British Foods. "That means they can save some money to buy their fashion items from more expensive chains, and it is the retailers in the mid-market that are suffering."

Primark has 116 stores across the UK and Ireland but Mr Jackson believes there should be more than 200. "The thing about Primark is that it is still not known around the country," he said. "We still don't have a store in Liverpool; we still don't have one in Leeds."

The company said it is increasing the size of its Manchester store by a third to 100,000 sq ft. Richard Hymen, the chairman of the retail consultants Verdict, said: "That is a major development. That should frighten a lot of people and make M&S sit up and take notice."

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