Value fashion giant Primark traded better than expected over Christmas, including a “step up” in the UK. 


Primark said sales rose by 18% in the 16 weeks to January 7

Primark reported that following strong footfall compared with the previous year’s Omicron period, sales climbed 18% to £3.15bn in the 16 weeks to January 7.

Primark parent ABF said that like-for-like sales rose 11%, “supported by higher unit volumes, higher average selling prices and a normalised level of markdown”.

Primark said there was a “step-up in performance” in the UK where sales were 15% ahead of last year, “nearly all of which was like-for-like growth”.

The retailer said its share of the total UK clothing, footwear and accessories market by value, including online sales, rose year on year to 7% from 6.5% for the 12 weeks to December 11, and “was very close to the record trading when stores reopened in June 2021 after a prolonged lockdown”.

Footfall was “strong” in big city centres as well as on high streets and in retail parks.

Primark’s adjusted operating profit margin was “better than expected as a consequence of the sales performance” but still “somewhat lower” than last year as a result of inflation in the cost of bought-in goods,  higher freight rates, and labour and energy costs.

The retailer, which does not sell online, was “encouraged” by a click-and-collect trial in 25 UK stores.

The new calendar year has started encouragingly, but ABF cautioned “macroeconomic headwinds remain and may weigh on consumer spending in the months ahead”.