Primark aims to open two stores in France by the end of this financial year as it seeks to build on its success on the Continent.
John Bason, finance director of Primark-owner Associated British Foods revealed the retailer has identified a store in a shopping centre near Paris and one in another big French city as it aims to replicate its performance in Germany where it has achieved “strong” like-for-likes.
Primark is concentrating its international ambitions on Europe. “We are still not a fully established business in any of Continental Europe – our focus is there,” Bason said.
“The beauty is that the supply chain is already in place. We feel the German consumer really likes us and there is huge potential there. In the UK we have 5.5 million sq ft of space for a 60 million population. Germany has a population of 80 million.”
Primark’s range of merchandise helped it outperform rivals in the first half, when the retailer achieved a 55% leap in operating profits to £238m, according to Bason.
Maxi-dresses and denim shorts have been the stand out products over recent weeks.
The retailer said it had suffered weaker sales since the New Year than in the earlier part of the period because the weather put people off travelling to its stores. However, Bason said that Primark’s fast fashion model has helped it hold steady.
He added there is still “definitely room for growth” in the UK.
Primark’s like-for-likes jumped 7% in the 24 weeks to March 2.