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Primark sales hit by warm weather but profit forecast is stable

Sales at Primark since the close of the financial year ended September 13 were more than 10% ahead of last year, driven by an expansion in selling space.

However, Charles Sinclair, chairman of Primark owner Associated British Foods, told shareholders at the annual general meeting today that the clothing retailer’s like-for-like sales were lower than expected due to a mild October and November.

He said: “Like-for-like sales are currently below expectation as a result of the unseasonably warm weather, but, having budgeted this year for a higher level of mark-downs, at this early stage in the year Primark’s profit estimate for the full year is unchanged.”

The group, which also includes sugar, grocery, ingredients and agriculture businesses, said its operating profits in the first two months of the new financial year were broadly in line with expectations.

Sinclair said the business expects to post a marginal decline in adjusted operating profit at year end, but said the impact on earnings should be mitigated by much lower tax and interest charges.

“We therefore continue to see limited opportunity to grow adjusted earnings per share in this financial year,” he said. “With the strength of the group’s balance sheet and strong cash generation, we have every reason to be confident of further progress for the group thereafter.”

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