Primark has changed the way people shop for clothes for good, according to George Weston, chief executive of parent firm Associated British Foods.
Weston, who revealed a 30% surge in full year adjusted operating profit at Primark, said: “The way people think about clothes shopping has changed for good. People are paying less for clothes. Primark is leading that change.”
Weston, who also revealed a 17% jump in sales and a 4% like-for-like increase in the year to September 13, put its recent success down to its strength in buying. He also said its store environment was “getting better and better”.
However, value titan Primark is not immune to the weather impacts that have hindered retailers across the high street during the unseasonably warm autumn. Weston said that it was “down in the obvious categories” but its broad range meant that it was “not too badly” impacted.
Primark is expecting a merry Christmas this year. Weston said: “We have a great range of Christmas gifts. We are looking forward to Christmas.
He predicted that this year would be about “the twosie, not the onesie” and said that Christmas jumpers would be “more in your face”.
Meanwhile, Primark is continuing its overseas expansion following the success of its international stores.
Weston said its French debut has been “startlingly successful” while improved consumer sentiment in Spain had helped it notch up double digit growth in the country over the year.
The retailer is making its much anticipated US debut next year and has recently signed for seven stores from department store giant Sears.
The US property market should benefit Primark in its US expansion. Weston said: “We always thought that space in malls would be available, more so than in Europe. There are many retailers such as Sears and JC Penney that are sitting on too much space.”
Weston said its US debut would be “lower key” than in France where crowds of shoppers gather for its store openings, so it would focus on opening stores to build its name.
He said: “We’re already well known in France. We’ll open more stores, very quickly in the US.”
Weston said it was opening around Boston first as there was a high Irish population that will be familiar with the Penneys brand and there is a large student population from around the States who would spread the message about Primark’s arrival.