Value chain Primark expects further growth in profit as the cost of raw materials falls and it continues to open new stores.
Revenue at Primark grew 15% to £1.63bn in the first half, driven by new store openings and 1 million extra sq ft added in the last 12 months. Like-for-like sales increased 2%. Primark opened 10 shops, most of which were in in Europe, including three in Spain and two in the UK.
Primark will continue this pace of expansion and maintain its store refurbishment programme.
George Weston, chief executive of ABF said that trading for the group’s grocery and retail businesses had been “challenging” in the first half but that the first was experiencing “relief” due to the subsiding of commodity costs.
A strong performance from Primark helped drive a 3% rise in pre-tax profits at parent company Associated British Food for the 24 weeks to March 3. ABF reported a 3% rise in pre-tax profit to £329m for the 24 weeks to March 3, while group revenue climbed 11% to £5.77bn.
He added: “The group delivered good growth in revenue and profit. AB Sugar and Primark both performed strongly, demonstrating continuing momentum. We expect substantial growth in both adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share for the group for the full year.”