For the 16-week period, Associated British Foods plc said trading at Primark has been good in the first quarter with sales 4.5 percent ahead of last year at constant currency and 3 percent at actual exchange rates. The company said in a statement that sales growth was due almost entirely to the increase in selling space and like-for-like performance improved, driven by a marked upturn in the Eurozone.
The UK continued to perform well with sales rise of 4 percent, driven by a strong contribution from new selling space with a marginal decline in like-for-like sales for the period. Sales in the Eurozone were 5.1 percent ahead of last year at constant currency as a result of the increase in selling space and like-for-like growth, with strong progress in France and Italy. The company added that this improvement in like-for-like sales in the final quarter of last financial year continued and at this early stage, there was a notable improvement in Germany. Primark’s US business delivered like-for-like sales growth in the period.
Primark expands retail reach
The company’s retail selling space increased by 0.2 million sq. ft. since the financial year end and, at January 4, 2020, 376 stores were trading from 15.8 million sq. ft. compared to 15.1 million sq. ft. a year ago. The company opened three new stores during the period: at Seville Lagoh in Spain, Kiel in Germany and Milan Fiordaliso in Italy. In addition, Primark relocated to larger premises in Norte shopping centre in Porto, Portugal, the Norwich store in the UK was extended and selling space was reduced in two stores in Germany.
The company now expects to add a net 0.9 million sq. ft. of additional selling space in this financial year and expects to open 18 new stores together with a number of relocations and selling space will be reduced in a further store in Germany. The company will enter the Polish market with a new store in Warsaw in spring 2020, followed by a store in Prague, Czech Republic. Primark has also signed leases for a further store in Poland, in Poznan, and its first store in Slovakia, in Bratislava, which will take the company to its fifteenth country.