Primark saw profits swell 17% to £233 million and like-for-like rise 4% for the year ended September 13.
Total sales at Primark rose 21% to £1.9 billion for the year, partly thanks to new space. Primark’s retail space increased by 13% over the period to 5.4 million sq ft.
Primark said in a statement: “This organic growth was remarkably strong given the already reported weak trading in April when poor weather this year contrasted with warm weather and the benefit of Easter trading in the comparative period last year.”
“This performance was against a backdrop of declining consumer confidence which highlights both the continued growth of the value clothing sector’s share of the retail market and Primark’s ability to thrive in difficult economic circumstances.”
However Primark said that operating profit margin reduced from 12.5% to 12.1%. It said that although gross margin was broadly in line with the previous year, overheads were impacted by higher distribution costs, including the cost of supporting its new stores in Spain, and higher occupancy costs driven by increased depreciation.
George Weston, chief executive of Associated British Foods, which owns Primark, said: “Consumer spending in many parts of the world has been under pressure for some months. Despite this, Grocery, Agriculture and Primark all delivered strong sales and profit growth. While faced with a general economic downturn, we remain committed to the group’s expansion and development, most notably in Sugar and Primark.”
Primark plans to open stores in Cambridge, Corby, Edinburgh and High Wycombe in the coming year. It will also add at least four stores in Spain and plans to test stores in the Netherlands and Germany in 2009.