Primark’s parent company Associated British Foods will warn of “challenging” trading in November at its AGM today.
Despite the tough conditions, however, ABF will reiterate profit guidance.
ABF chairman Michael McLintock will attribute the stability to “careful inventory management and improved margins”.
He will say: “At this early stage in our new financial year, sales and profit for the first eight weeks of trading for the group were in line with expectations.
“However, during November, Primark trading was challenging, in a tough retail market, but with careful inventory management and improved margins, our expectation for the increase in Primark profit is unchanged.
“At current exchange rates we expect no material translation or transactional effect on profit, but the sterling exchange rate can be expected to be volatile given a period of intense Brexit negotiations.”
Primark usually manages to beat the market due to its clear proposition and value stance, but retailers have endured a worse than normal November despite Black Friday deals.
Total sales advanced just 0.5% year on year, marking the slowest rate of growth since April, according to the BRC KPMG sales monitor. Like-for-likes dipped 0.5%.
Non-food performed worse than food, with in-store non-food sales falling 1.9% on a total basis and 3.3% in like-for-like terms. In contrast, online non-food sales grew 2.9% during the month.