Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Sun shines on Primark as warm weather boosts sales

Mid-Ulster company Premier Electrics has completed the full electrical fit-out of a Primark store in Bath
Mid-Ulster company Premier Electrics has completed the full electrical fit-out of a Primark store in Bath

Primark's sales growth has continued to accelerate after the retail chain benefited from warm weather and a busy period of store openings.

Associated British Foods, which also owns household brands such as Kingsmill, Twinings and Ovaltine, said Primark's total revenues growth was 22% in the quarter to June 21 at constant exchange rates.

This brought the improvement in the first 40 weeks of its financial year to 17% and reflected the impact of warmer weather compared with a year ago in March and April and continued strong trading over the following two months.

Selling space increased by one million sq ft on a year earlier to take the Primark estate to 275 stores covering 10m sq ft in locations across Europe. The company has been granted planning permission to overhaul its flagship store in Belfast city centre, on the corner of Royal Avenue and Castle Street.

The overhaul includes the demolition of Commonwealth House next door, where an extension to the store will be built.

It has another seven stores around Northern Ireland.

A further nine new stores have been opened since the end of the quarter, including a new outlet in Canterbury and a relocation in Cardiff.

Dublin retailer Arthur Ryan founded Primark as Penneys in the city in 1969.

Across the group, quarterly revenues were 3% higher at constant exchange rates but 3% lower when currency movements are included.

It said sterling was stronger than most of its major trading currencies in the first half of the financial year, adding that if current rates prevail it will suffer a £50m impact compared with last year's earnings.

However, shares opened higher yesterday as the company said strong levels of profitability in retail, grocery and ingredients meant it was now on course to grow earnings per share in the current financial year.

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