ABF rides high on sugar rush

Primark and sugar are still the twin jewels in ABF's crown as the firm notches up 16% growth in sales of cheap togs, and a 28% increase in sugar revenues.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
Associated British Food may have a pretty unconventional portfolio, but it’s bang on the money at the moment. Despite having a lousy April and the wettest June on record, Primark has boosted like-for-like sales, increasing revenue by a sixth. And over in ABF’s sugar division, it’s an even sweeter story: year-to-date revenues are 28% ahead. All those Diamond Jubilee bake sales, no doubt…

Even in grocery products, where competition is fiercer than a rabid badger, ABF has managed growth of 3%. The star brand so far this year: Twinings Ovaltine.  It seems the UK’s newfound love for all things British has brought about a marked increase in tea and cocoa drinkers.

Only ABF’s ingredients arm (yeast manufacture and such) has seen shrinking sales – rather ironic given the microorganism’s bloating effects. Overall, ABF has notched up revenue growth of 11%. Not bad, when you look at the fortunes of high street rival M&S

But the UK market is a tough nut to crack, even for the mighty Primark. Of the five new stores opened in the last quarter, none were in Blighty (one was in Berlin and – interestingly, given its current economic misery – four were in Spain).  There are now 237 Primark shops in total, adding up to a whopping eight million square feet of selling space.

Despite the recession at home and in the eurozone, ABF is still on target to meet its ambitious full-year profit projections. Marc Bolland take note, when it comes to fashion, the lure of cheap threads never wanes. Not even when it rains.

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