Sales at value fashion retailer Primark in its first quarter were “above expectations” and rose 25% compared to the same period last year.
Primark’s parent company Associated British Foods (ABF) said that sales for the 16 weeks to January 5 were driven by strong like-for-like sales growth combined with an increase in retail selling space and “superior” sales densities in its larger new stores.
Like-for-like growth in the period was strong, largely due to a comparison with the unseasonably warm weather in the same period the prior year and good trading over the Christmas period.
ABF said that operating profit margin was higher than in the same period last year as a result of lower cotton prices and better trading.
During the 16 weeks, retail selling space increased by 0.7m sq ft and included the opening of Primark’s second store on London’s Oxford Street.
In comparison to the same quarter a year earlier, retail selling space increased by 1.1m sq ft or 14% with the opening of new stores in Spain, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.
ABF said: “This pace of store openings will not continue for the remainder of this financial year but we expect it to pick up again in the next financial year.
“We expect to add a further 200,000 sq ft of space this year. This will include the completion of extensions to our Newcastle and Manchester stores, featuring the new store design, and a new store in Frankfurt’s Zeil, one of Germany’s premier shopping areas.”