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Primark owner posts hike in profits as sales at fashion retailer rise to £2.6bn

By Ravender Sembhy

Primark’s main store located in Belfast city centre is to undergo a revamp
Primark’s main store located in Belfast city centre is to undergo a revamp

Primark owner Associated British Foods has announced half-year pre-tax profits up 4% to £466m.

The company said like-for-like sales at Primark compared to the same period last year were broadly flat, with warm weather across Europe hitting its performance.

Profits at the budget fashion retailer, which has 11 stores in Northern Ireland, were down 3% to £322m although sales rose 5% to £2.6bn.

It added that trading at its two US Primark stores has been "encouraging" and it plans to open six more outlets in the country this year. Overall, group revenue declined 2% to £6.1bn.

Associated British Foods chief executive George Weston said: "These results demonstrate underlying progress for all of our businesses in the period despite currency.

"Good buying and selling space expansion continued at Primark, cost reduction and performance improvements contributed to a better result at Sugar, profits were well ahead at Ingredients, and profit margins improvewd at Grocery and Agriculture."

Sugar sales fell 9% to £843m but the division delivered a £6m profit, driven by cost savings.

The group added that its currency problems have started to ease.

"The weakening of sterling in recent weeks, particularly against the euro, will ease the effect of currency translation on this year's results assuming current rates prevail, reducing our previous estimate of £25m to £10m," ABF said.

Primark is planning a major renovation of its flagship Castle Street store in Belfast.

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