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Primark sales increase 15% with ‘strong’ Christmas trading

Primark has reported sales were 15% ahead of last year for the 16 weeks to January 3, driven by increased selling space and high sales densities in new stores.

The value retailer had previously announced that like-for-like sales in the autumn were affected by the unseasonably warm weather but said that trading over the last five weeks, including Christmas, was strong.

In the year to date, Primark achieved like-for-like sales growth in the UK, Ireland and Iberia.

Total like-for-like sales growth for the group was held back by the impact on existing stores of the new store openings in the Netherlands and Germany, although total sales in northern continental Europe were said to be well ahead of last year.

Total sales were 12% ahead of the same period last year at actual exchange rates, as a result of the weakening of the euro against sterling.

The retailer, which is owned by Associated British Foods, said that operating profit margin was lower than last year as a result of a higher level of mark-down, but in line with expectations.

Primark increased selling space by 0.5 million sq ft since the financial year end and has 287 stores trading from 10.7 million sq ft of selling space.

Ten new stores were opened during the period, including the relocation of the Northampton store to larger premises. The company has also increased capacity at its Mönchengladbach warehouse in Germany and it is now fully operational.

Primark reported good progress in building the management team in the US ahead of the launch at the end of this year. It has signed eight leases in the north east of the USA, including seven from Sears. It has also signed a lease for warehouse space in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.

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