Anglo-Irish chain owned by Associated British Foods, Primark’s sales are up 11 per cent compared to last year on a currency-neutral basis and 21 per cent ahead on a reported basis. Much of the rise was due to new selling space as Primark continued to open new stores in its domestic markets and abroad. The company’s average retail selling space was up about 12 per cent in the first half.
UK comparable sales rose two per cent and the market share increased. This is a relatively strong result given the challenging market conditions in Britain over the past six months. Looking beyond the UK, overall comparable sales for Primark were flat, dragged down by the Netherlands where a rapid rise in selling space appears to have led to some cannibalisation of sales from existing stores. With the Netherlands taken out, group comparative sales rose one per cent.
Primark’s six-store business in the US is continuing to develop. Markdowns were in line with the first half last year. Yet it expects operating profit margin in the first half to decline. Primark will continue to drive sales growth through new stores. It added 16 new stores in the period, including several UK locations plus Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the US.