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.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime