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Primark sales hit £1bn in first half

Primark’s sales rose 18% to bust the billion pound barrier for the 24 weeks ended February 28.

Operating profit leapt 10% to £122 million over the six month period.

Primark’s parent company Associated British Food (ABF) said the value fashion chain had put in a “first class performance” given the current trading climate for UK fashion retailers.

ABF chief executive George Weston said said that Primark’s operating margin had been impacted by increased costs and overheads attached to the opening of a new distribution centre in Thrapston in Northamptonshire. However this had been forecast by the company.

But Weston did warn that Primark’s margins would be further impacted in the second half because of the weakness of sterling against the dollar. However he added that some of the impact would be offset by lower supplier prices and freight costs.

Primark had 187 stores and 5.6 million sq ft of selling space at the end of the first half. This included 12 stores in Spain and its first store in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Primark said it planned to open a further seven stores in the second half including in Bristol and Cambridge and a relocation in Tooting in London.

It will also add a further two shops in Spain and open its first stores in Germany in Bremen and Portugal in Lisbon.

Retail space is expected to reach 5.9m sq ft by the year-end and store expansion will create 2,300 jobs.

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