Primark: 'stick 12% sales rise up yer Christmas jumper'

Another bumper Christmas for Primark, although its parent company, Associated British Foods, didn't fare as well.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 08 Sep 2014

Primark’s inexorable march towards total retail domination continues apace: the bargain clothing retailer has posted figures showing sales during the 16 weeks to the beginning of January rose by 14% on the year before.

Something to do with those ubiquitous £10 reindeer Christmas jumpers, seen on everyone from MPs Dan Rogerson, Damian Hinds and Ivan Lewis to, probably, your boss during one of his/her attempts to seem ‘fun’? Apparently not: Associated British Foods, its parent company, said it the rise was due to an 8% increase in selling space (the company is weeks from announcing that it will take up every single retail unit on the whole of Oxford Street, MT hears) and ‘higher sales densities from new stores’.

The company opened its first store in France in December, and said that ‘early signs suggest Primark has captured the imagination of French consumers’. Expect that reindeer jumper on Francois Hollande next year. The company said it expects to open 0.5 million sq ft of space during this financial year, including four shops in France, two in Germany and three in the UK.

But while things are fast and furious at Primark, Associated British Foods’ other divisions didn’t perform as well. Sugar sales fell by 28%, grocery sales dropped by 1% and ingredients - which includes ‘yeast and bakery’ ingredients - fell by 2%, although ABF called the latter two performances ‘encouraging’. Put together, total group growth was ‘level’ - not surprisingly, share prices fell by just over 2% in early trading.

To be fair, all ABF has to do is sell packets of sugar in Primark and it’ll disappear off the shelves faster than you can say ‘one stop Christmas shop’.

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