Discount giant beats off bad weather

Primark has improved on a flat start to this year, delivering positive like-for-like growth in the second half.

Parent Associated British Food reported in its pre-close trading update that second-half like-for-like sales growth is set to be 1 per cent overall, with stores not affected by new openings generating 7 per cent growth.

However, profit margins suffered from unseasonable weather, leading to aggressive discounting through August to clear excess summer stock.

The discount giant has more than doubled its retail space in the past two years – up to 4.8 million sq ft across 170 stores.

Primark’s positive outlook comes in a week when a raft of other big retail players are expected to post mixed results. Next is expected to unveil a sales slump of up to 6 per cent and French Connection is forecast to suffer pre-tax losses of about£2.5 million.