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Sales up at Primark

Sales at the value retailer for the 40 weeks to 23 June were up 6% on a constant currency basis (7% at actual exchange rates), which it said had been driven by increased selling space.

It added that the growth was “marginally lower” than the performance it delivered in the first half of the year.

Like-for-like sales, including in the UK, for the third quarter were up on those in the first half of the year, driven by better trading across Europe. 

Operating margin in the first half was 9.8%, down from 10% in the same period last year. The retailer said better buying “virtually offset” the adverse effect of the US dollar exchange rate on purchases. It added that stock was “tightly managed” and markdowns, although higher than last year, were better than expected. As a result, Primark profits will now be higher than expected.

Primark currently operates 358 stores worldwide. Recent store openings include Westfield London, Munich, Antwerp and Valencia.

During the period a small store at Lisnagelvin in Derry, in Northern Ireland was closed and selling space in the US stores in Freehold and Danbury was reduced.

The retailer said it expects to add a further 100,000 sq ft of selling space by the end of this financial year, including a new store in Brooklyn, its ninth store in the US, and a relocation to a larger store at Islazul Madrid.

The opening of new stores in Toulouse, France and Ingolstadt in Germany have been delayed and are now expected early in the next financial year.

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