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Primark cashes in on heritage looks

Heritage-inspired products and chunky knits helped value retailer Primark grow like-for-like sales 6% in the year to September 18.

John Bason, finance director at Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF), told Drapers: “The biggest look [at the start of autumn 10] was definitely heritage. It’s about tweeds and checks.” He added that Primark’s lace and lace-trimmed product had also performed well.

Operating margins improved from 10.9% to 12.5% during the period, but Primark warned they may shrink back next year as cotton prices soar. Mason would not go into detail about Primark’s pricing strategy, but indicated it would try to avoid passing the price hikes on to consumers. “Primark is going to remain the best value on the high street. That’s what Primark is about,” he said.

He added that Primark would tweak its manufacturing base to balance the need for cheap production with the need for speed to market for trend-led items. “Primark has shown itself to be a master of this but we aren’t at the end of the road in terms of perfecting that,” he said.

Total sales increased 18%. ABF reported group revenue up 10% to £10.2bn, and adjusted pre-tax profit up 26% to £825m.

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