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Drapers Top 100 2017 – 4. Paul Marchant, chief executive officer, Primark

Paul Marchant, Primark

Paul Marchant, Primark

It has been another year of international and domestic expansion for Primark. In spite of the tough trading environment, the value fashion retailer, led by Marchant, continued to outperform the market – sales were up 19% to £7bn in the year to 16 September 2017 partly as a result of a 1.5m sq ft expansion in retail space and 30 global store openings.

Primark’s adjusted operating profit rose 3% on a constant-currency basis to £735m. However, its operating profit margin declined from 11.6% to 10.4%, reflecting the effect of the strength of the US dollar on input costs.

The value fashion chain said it performed “particularly well” in the UK, where like-for-like sales were up 10% on the year before and its share of the clothing market “increased considerably”.

Sales across continental Europe were up 16% on 2016, reflecting its expansion. Of Primark’s top 20 stores by sales density, 15 are in continental Europe. It opened three new US stores during the year, and extended its Boston store by 20% to 92,000 sq ft.

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