Primark has emerged as one of the high street’s winners over Christmas as it reported a 7% increase in sales in the 16-week period to 6 January.
A trading update released this morning by parent Associated British Foods, shows that sales at Primark were 7% ahead on a constant currency basis, driven by increased retail selling space. While sales were 9% ahead of last year at actual exchange rates.
The UK achieved strong like-for-like growth while unseasonably warm weather in October held sales back across Europe, however there was a pick-up in the five weeks leading up to Christmas. In fact Primark achieved record sales in the week before Christmas, it said. The US “continued to make progress”.
Primark said it expected operating margin to be close to that of the same period last year and said better buying had offset the adverse affect of the weaker sterling/US dollar exchange rate.
The business is continuing its rapid retail expansion and says it expects to open 1.2m sq ft of retail space in this financial year. As of 6 January 2018, 350 stores were trading from 14.2m sq ft, which compared to 13.1m sq ft a year ago. Five new stores were opened during the period at Bielefeld, Munster and a city centre store in Stuttgart, Germany, Charlton in the UK and Loulé in the Algarve.
In the UK Primark has recently revealed that it will be opening major new stores in the extension of Westfield London in White City and at Bluewater in Kent. The Westfield store will open this summer to co-incide with the mall’s 10th anniversary while the Bluewater store will open next year.