Animal print skirts and faux sheepskin coats help Primark shine in the High Street’s Christmas gloom
Animal print skirts and faux sheepskin coats helped Primark shine in the High Street’s Christmas gloom.
Sales at the bargain chain, which is owned by Associated British Foods and sells its products online, climbed 1 per cent in the UK in the 16 weeks to January 5.
The figures were a relief for investors following an earlier warning that trading had been tough in November.
Wearing it well: Sales at Primark climbed 1 per cent in the UK in the 16 weeks to January 5
ABF posted a 1 per cent rise in revenues, sending shares up 7 per cent, or 152p, to 2330p.
Sales across all of ABF’s divisions grew apart from in sugar, where they fell 14 per cent as the business continued to suffer from the impact of lower prices across the EU.
ABF is one of Britain’s biggest food producers with brands such as Ovaltine, Ryvita, Twinings and Jordans.
It also owns major sugar, agriculture and ingredients businesses. Primark accounts for around half of ABF’s annual revenues and profits. Sales at its grocery business rose 2 per cent, while agriculture was up 5 per cent and ingredients up 1 per cent.
John Bason, finance director, said sales of leopard print clothing and so-called ‘teddy’ jackets, were a hit with Primark’s customers.
The retailer’s Christmas success comes as High Street firms battle to attract customers through their doors.
THE £1 SHOPPING CENTRE
A shopping centre in Scotland owned by investment giant Columbia Threadneedle has been put up for auction – starting at just £1.
The Postings in Kirkcaldy has 21 stores but more than half sit empty. It was bought by Columbia Threadneedle more than 15 years ago for a reported £4.2m but is said to be more expensive to run than it is profitable.
The firm is selling the centre as a development opportunity likely to involve demolishing and building the site from scratch.
But one source suggested crippling business rates and the cost of demolition meant the purchase was too risky.
Stores including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and Mothercare are all facing falling sales as they struggle to remain relevant.
Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘Growth may be slightly slower than we’ve seen in recent updates, but the fact is positive sales growth is a feat many stores simply aren’t managing at the moment.
‘All-in-all, Primark’s in a position some of its rivals can only dream of.’