The Associated British Foods-owned fast-fashion business’s sales rose 25 per cent to£899 million and profits soared 22 per cent to£111 million. While much of the growth came from new space, like-for-like sales were up 4 per cent.
ABF finance director John Bason told Retail Week there would be no let-up in the pace of expansion. “There is not going to be a change of strategy,” he said. “Primark is still not a mature business and we’re going to continue doing what we’ve done in recent years, which is grow the business in good times and bad.”
He said that the company would consider acquiring packages of stores from distressed rivals if they were in the right locations. “We’re very much looking for new stores and would certainly be interested in looking at any packages that came to the market,” he said.
Citi analyst Jeff Stent pointed out that Primark’s margin declined for the third consecutive half, but Bason claimed this fall was so small it was not significant. “It is no indication of more difficult trading,” he said.
The company plans to open a further 300,000 sq ft of space in the second half, including doubling its store count in Spain to eight. Bason confirmed Primark was looking closely at other markets in continental Europe but refused to confirm which ones.