Primark to move design and buying functions from UK to Dublin

Discount clothing retailer Primark is to move all of its buying, sourcing and merchandising staff and functions to its Dublin headquarters.

The company, which trades here as Penneys, currently divides these functions between Dublin and its Reading office. While Reading will remain a core office, all of Primark's buying, sourcing, quality, merchandising and design capabilities will now be centralised here from September.

Primark said the move is purely operational and not related to Britain's planned exit from the EU.

"This change will ensure our business strategy and our expansion into new international markets is fully supported," said Primark chief executive Paul Marchant.

Approximately 220 of the Reading staff are being offered relocation to Dublin. The actual net jobs gain for the Dublin office is unclear as a number of staff had previously switched between the two offices.

New figures show that Primark grew its first half adjusted operating profit by 25%, year-on-year, to £426m (€493m). Revenue for the six months to the end of March grew by 4%, year-on-year, to £3.63bn.

The retailer said it did well in most markets, including Ireland. UK sales were up by 2.3%, while overall eurozone sales grew by more than 5%.

However, the eurozone was down on a like-for-like basis due to a decline in the German market. Strong growth was seen, however, in Spain, France, Italy and Belgium. Primark said its US business performed strongly in the first half.

Primark's figures drove diversified owner Associated British Foods' first half performance; ABF clocking up an overall 2% rise in first half revenues.

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