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Primark shrugs off static like-for-likes

Value fashion chain Primark is pressing on with accelerated opening plans, despite flat like-for-like sales.

In its pre-close period trading statement this week, the retailer said total sales and profit were "substantially ahead of last year", after it added 18 stores in the first half of the financial year. This gave it a total of 161 stores with 4.4 million sq ft of space, of which about 1 million sq ft is outside the UK.

Primark plans to raise that to 4.7 million sq ft by September this year, higher than its original target of 4.5 million sq ft. Among the planned openings are Irvine in Ayrshire at the end of this month, Oxford Street in London on April 5, Bedford later in April and Liverpool this summer.

However, Primark owner Associated British Foods said like-for-like sales still showed zero growth, in line with last summer. Like-for-likes rose 4% in stores unaffected by nearby openings, suggesting it faced cannibalisation elsewhere.

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