Primark is on course to post a 13% growth in full year sales when its parent Associated British Foods (ABF) posts its year end figures on 7 November.
In a pre close period trading statement ABF said the increase in sales at the value fashion retailer had been driven by an increase in selling space and a 1% growth in like-for-like sales. On the same comparable basis but at actual exchange rates, sales are expected to be 20% ahead.
The UK had put in a particularly strong performance in the year to September 2017, ABF said, with sales up 10% and a strong increase in market share. A strong first half was followed up by a strong lead-up to Easter in Q3 and weak comparisons from the prior year, which had been affected by poor weather and an earlier Easter holiday.
In the final quarter of the year Primark benefited from favourable weather, resulting in fewer markdowns and AW17 had got off to a good start, it said.
The lower markdowns and margin mitigation mean that the business now expects the full year margin to be improved on the first half performance of 10%, which had been adversely affected by sterling’s relative weakness to the US dollar.
Throughout the year Primark added 1.5m sq ft of selling space and opened 30 new stores across nine countries. This expansion brings the total estate to 345 stores and 13.9m sq ft at the financial year end. Eleven stores were added in the UK; three in each of Spain, France, the Netherlands, Italy and the US; two in Germany; and one each in Belgium and Ireland.