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Sun shines on Primark as sales rise 22%

Primark’s sales soared 22% in the 40 weeks to June 21, as like-for-likes benefitted from the warm weather.

The value retailer also increased its selling space by 1 million sq ft to 10 million sq ft in total, and at June 21 was operating from 275 stores.

Since the half year, Primark has opened nine stores in countries including Spain, France and Germany, as well as the city of Canterbury in the UK.

A small store in Dundalk in Ireland was closed during the period. Plans for the first store openings in the northeast US towards the end of 2015 remain on track.

Primark’s operating margin remained steady in the third quarter, as it continued to benefit from warehouse and distribution efficiencies and lower freight rates.

The company said in a statement: “In the third quarter, the strong like-for-like sales growth benefited from the warm weather, especially compared to the very cold months of March and April last year, and built further on strong trading in May and June last year.

“We have a very strong pipeline of new stores in Europe extending over a number of years. With our current phasing of store openings, we now expect a net increase in retail selling space in this financial year of 1.2 million sq ft.”

Primark parent company Associated British Foods said its capital expenditure in the year to date was £70m higher than last year, with a higher proportion spent on new stores for Primark.

Net debt at June 21 was £287m lower than the half year at £540m, and a further reduction is expected by the year end.

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