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Primark sales expected to rise 22%

Primark is expected to record sales 22% up on last year, with like-for-likes up by an above-market average 5%.

According to a pre-close trading update from parent company Associated British Foods, sales for the 52 weeks to September 14, 2013 have risen 22% at actual exchange rates and 21% at constant currency.

ABF said Primark’s growth came from an increase in retail selling space, like-for-like sales and improved sales densities in the larger new stores. It also benefited from last autumn’s “seasonal” weather compared with 2011, although noted that March and April saw “subdued” growth as a result of the snow.

Lower cotton prices and fewer markdowns have improved margins, beating ABF’s expectations.

As a result of the retailer’s “strong finish to the year” group adjusted operating profit will be ahead of expectations. Net debt has reduced from £1.1bn to £900m.

Primark will have opened 16 new stores in the financial year, including West Bromwich, which will open on September 12. It has also closed a store in Lincoln and expanded stores in Manchester, Newcastle, Chester and Mary Street, Dublin, adding 800,000 sq ft of selling space across 257 storse. In total Primark now covers 9m sq ft.

ABF added: “We expect to add more than a million square feet of selling space in the new financial year with an extensive programme of openings in time for Christmas 2013.”

Primark will open its first store in France in December. It will follow with a further four over the next 12 months.

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