Sales at Primark for the 16 weeks to 5 January were up 4% year on year, driven by new store openings.
The retailer said the business experienced a “modest” decline in like-for-like sales, but this was more than offset by increased selling space on 2018.
On 5 January, 364 stores were trading from 15.1 million sq ft compared with 14.2 million sq ft a year ago. Four new stores were opened in the period: Seville and Almeria in Spain, Toulouse in France and a city-centre store in Berlin, Germany. In the UK, Primark relocated to larger premises in Harrow and the Intu Merry Hill store was extended.
Primark said it had a higher operating profit margin than last year following a weaker US dollar exchange rate, and through better buying and tight stock management, and added that profit was “well ahead of last year”.
In the UK, sales were up 1% on 2018 and Primark’s share of the clothing market “increased significantly”. Like-for-like sales in September and October were up on the previous year, but reduced footfall hit sales in November. It said sales over Christmas “exceeded expectations”.
In Europe, sales were up 5% on last year, and there was strong growth in France, Belgium, Italy and Spain. However, trade was soft in Germany. In the US sales were “well ahead” year on year.
Primark expects to open 900,000 sq ft of trading space in this financial year. The opening of the American Dream shopping mall in New Jersey has been delayed and will open in the next financial year. It is closing a smaller store in Oviedo, Spain this spring. Its 160,000 sq ft store in Birmingham is expected to open in April and Primark’s first store in Slovenia will launch later this financial year.