‘Standout’ Primark back to sales growth

Clothing retailer Primark has returned to underlying sales growth, with low prices and warm weather driving a strong performance in the UK in its latest quarter, owner Associated British Foods has said.

The company’s operations are based in Dublin.

“The UK, in particular, is showing very, very strong trading at the moment,” John Bason, chief financial officer, said.

“Against a background of what a lot of retailers have been reporting, I think we are a standout.”

The sales provide a contrast with the likes of Next and Marks & Spencer, whose clothing sales are stuttering as cash-strapped UK households look to the likes of Primark to make their money go further. 

It’s a similar story outside of fashion as discount grocers Aldi and Lidl continue to boost their UK share of food spending.

“The UK economy has got consistently more people into a job, but at a lower average real wage. That means people are seeking out more value wherever it might be,” said UBS analyst Andy Hughes.

Primark’s sales gave a boost to shares of Associated British Foods, majority owned by the family of chief executive George Weston, which rose up to 6.2%, valuing the business at £24bn (€27.3bn).

Associated British Foods, which also has major sugar, grocery, agriculture and ingredients businesses, said Primark’s better-than-expected third-quarter performance meant the group’s outlook for the year to mid-September 2017 had marginally improved. 

Reuters, Bloomberg, Irish Examiner staff.

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