Expansion strategy to continue as value clothing retailer brings Allders acquisitions on line.
Associated British Foods owned clothing chain Primark has experienced healthy growth in the past six months, setting the retailer up for continuing shop improvements and an expansion of its store portfolio.

Sales over the period rose 12 per cent, compared with the equivalent period last year, to£448 million.

Operating profit increased 18 per cent to£59 million for the group's retail arm. Like-for-like sales grew by 6 per cent. At the end of the period, the value-fashion retailer had a portfolio of 121 stores.

Shop openings will continue this year, as the retailer brings sites acquired from Allders into operation. Sites in Kingston upon Thames and Mullingar in Eire will commence trading by the end of the financial year.

A further six stores in Leicester, Bromley, Hull, Leeds, Cardiff and Dundalk in Eire should be open in time for next Christmas.

A site in Oxford is scheduled to open next year and the redevelopment of another store in Coventry is undergoing evaluation.

AB Foods chairman Martin Adamson said: 'Clothing retail is as competitive a market as any at the present time. The performance of Primark is therefore particularly satisfying.

[The Allders stores], together with other sites secured as part of Primark's continuing store development programme, will provide substantial additional selling space by the autumn of this year.

This continuing increase in floor space will provide the basis for further profitable development in the future.'