Value retailer Primark has reported a 7% increase in like-for-like sales in the six months to March 2, 2013 as operating profits soared 55%.
Operating profits rose to £238m while overall sales came in at £1.9bn, 24% ahead of the same period the previous year.
The value fashion chain described its first half performance as “exceptionally strong”, with trading in its Northern European stores leading the charge.
Operating profit margin rose to 11.5% up from 9.5%, reflecting the benefit of lower cotton prices, a weaker US dollar and lower markdowns as a result of better trading.
Retail selling space increased by 700,000 sq ft since the end of the previous financial year, and by 1m sq ft - or 13% - compared to the same period a year earlier. Primark opened 15 new stores in the period including six in Spain and four in the UK including our second store on London’s Oxford Street.
Two new stores were opened in Germany including one in Frankfurt’s Zeil, and the retailer opened its first two stores in Austria and a further store in the Netherlands.
Primark owner Associated British Food’s chief executive George Weston said: “This pace of store openings will not continue for the remainder of this financial year.
“We expect to add a further 100,000 sq ft of space this year, mainly comprising the completion of extensions to our Newcastle and Manchester stores. Expenditure on new stores and refits for the full year is expected to be at a similar level to last year.”