Penneys sees Christmas sales growth

Penneys sees Christmas sales growth
File photo

Discount clothing retailer Primark has said it saw good trading levels in its Irish operations over the first quarter of its financial year, which included the Christmas selling season.

The Dublin-based business trades here as Penneys and is ultimately owned by diversified UK business group Associated British Foods (ABF).

In the three months to the first week of January, Primark grew sales by 4% on a year-on-year basis.

Helped by its low price policy, Primark saw a strong Christmas on the wavering UK high street. Overall eurozone-based revenues were up 5%, year-on-year, with particularly strong growth evident in France, Belgium, Spain and Italy; although trading was soft in Germany which is proving a difficult market for the Dublin-headquartered retailer.

In addition, a Primark spokesperson said: "We are pleased with the trading of the Penneys business across the Republic of Ireland this year."

Primark's last store opening in the Republic was two years ago and no new openings are on the agenda. The retailer - which recently resumed trading in Belfast after a catastrophic store fire in August - is targeting the US and eastern Europe for more growth. It is due to open in Slovenia this year, but a planned opening in New Jersey has been delayed.

Nevertheless, Primark said it saw a strong sales performance in the US in the first quarter, driven by its Brooklyn store.

Overall, Primark's first quarter sales boost was driven by new store openings and increased selling space; with sales modestly down on a like-for-like basis.

On a group basis, ABF - which straddles grocery, retail, sugar, ingredients and agriculture - saw revenue rise 2%, year-on-year, in the quarter.

Primark was the best performing division, with the sugar business the worst with a 14% year-on-year revenue slump.

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