Primark said that sales in the first half of the year were ahead of expectations.
Associated British Foods (ABF), the value chain’s parent company, said that first-half sales were “substantially ahead” of last year, driven by new store openings and the success of its 14 stores in Spain.
Like-for-likes rose 8% during the half to February 27. ABF added that the growth was “impressive” given the strong comparative period last year.
Primark said that there had been some reduction in gross margin during the first quarter as a result of the higher costs of product sourced in dollars, but that the strengthening of sterling against the dollar helped in the second quarter. “The impact of these movements on operating profit margins was mitigated, in part, by higher volumes,” said ABF.
Primark, which will have 196 shops by the end of February selling from 6.1m sq ft, intends to open another six stores in the second half, three of which will be in Spain.
Primark recently agreed to buy 10 stores from Bhs which will open in the next financial year, adding 300,000sq ft of selling space.