But group remains on track to hit annual profit targets
The shares of Primark owner, Associated British Foods (AB Foods), were up more than 1 per cent in morning trading despite posting a fall in sales amid “unseasonably warm weather” in October last year.
For the 24 weeks to March, AB Foods said that Primark’s same-store sales would show a decline of 1 per cent on the same period a year before.
Nonetheless, the group said that like-for-like sales for the 16 weeks to 3 March are expected to show growth of 1 per cent, with the wider group remaining on track to hit annual profit targets.
AB Foods said: “Primark is performing very well in the UK with sales 8% ahead of last year and a strong increase in our share of the total clothing market.
“This was driven by a 4% growth in like-for-like sales, an increase in selling space and the breadth of our consumer offering. Our business in the US continues to make progress.
“We expect an acceleration in Primark profit growth in the second half as a result of an improvement in margin over the same period last year.
“This will be driven by better buying and some benefit of the recent weakness of the US dollar on purchases which will more than offset an expected return to a more normal level of markdowns, compared to the very low level achieved last year.”