Belfast Telegraph

Primark sets sights on notoriously tough US market

Primark is to open stores in the United States for the first time as it looks to replicate the success behind a 26% jump in profits in the last six months.

The retail chain, which was founded in Ireland by Arthur Ryan in 1969, now has 269 stores covering nearly 10m square feet of selling space across Europe.

It expects its first US shop will begin trading in Boston, Massachusetts, towards the end of next year.

Negotiations are under way to open further stores in the north east of the country in 2016, while it is also planning warehousing in the region.

The United States has been a notoriously tricky market for UK retailers to crack, with Tesco and Marks & Spencer among those to experience failure.

Primark, which is part of Associated British Foods, will look to build on its continued strong performance in Europe after its sales rose 14% to £2.3bn in the 24 weeks to March 1, leading to a 26% rise in profits to £298m.

Darren Shirley, a retail analyst at Shore Capital Stockbrokers, described the half-year performance as stunning and significantly above his expectations.

Shares in AB Foods, whose operations cover sugar, agriculture, retail, grocery and ingredients, opened 7% higher yesterday. With its portfolio of kitchen cupboard brands such as Ryvita, Ovaltine and Silver Spoon sugar also doing well, the group's profits rose 4% to £468m in the half year.

Primark's expansion in the UK has been focused on increasing selling space in major cities.

Belfast Telegraph