Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Primark posts 7 percent sales increase

Primark posts 7 percent sales increase

For the 16 weeks to January 6, 2018, sales at Primark, part of the Associated British Foods Plc, were, the company said, 7 percent ahead of those reported past year at constant currency driven by increased retail selling space.

Primark's operating margins in the first half were now expected to be close to those in the same time previous year. ABF continues to expect progress in underlying operating profits this year.

Agriculture was strong, with revenue was up 12% or 13% at constant currency, versus 11% and 8% past year.

The agriculture business saw revenue rise 12% across the 16-week period and the company expects profit growth for the full year.

In the period before Christmas Primark achieved record sales, with the United Kingdom continuing to perform well and increasing its total market share. Grocery sales climbed 1pc, thanks to "good sales growth" from Ovaltine and Twinings.

Looking forwards, the group said that its outlook was unchanged, with progress expected in adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings for the full year.

"Sales at the budget clothing chain improved 9% year-on-year, a record for the Christmas period, however, accounting for constant FX, the numbers were a little less impressive 7%", said Henry Croft, research analyst at Accendo Markets, in a note.

Whitbread pushed up 1.4% as the company, which runs the Costa Coffee and Premier Inn brands, said it's on track to meet its full-year expectations. AB Agri revenue was 13% 12 higher.

Among mid caps, Balfour Beatty rose after the infrastructure group released financial details on the positive impact expected from tax cuts in the United States.

Jens Weidmann - president of the Deutsche Bundesbank and European Central Bank Governing Council member - speaks at 0800 GMT, while ECB member Benoit Coeure speaks at 1430 GMT.

Elsewhere in Europe, UK Prime Minister Theresa May is to pledge tens of millions of pounds to strengthen Britain's border controls in France as she hosts summit talks with President Emmanuel Macron. Increasing co-operation on defence and counter-terrorism will be high on the agenda at an event which will see the first meeting together of the heads of the two countries' main intelligence agencies. The world's most populous nation grew 6.9% in 2017, beating Chinese government targets of 6.5%. On a yearly basis, industrial production growth eased to 3.6% in November from 5.9% in October.

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