PRIMARK SAID IT now expects its sales for the 2011/2012 financial year to be about 17 per cent ahead of last year’s figures.
The remarkable numbers come as much of the rest of the retail sector buckles under the pressure of a recession.
The clothing and accessories retailer, which trades as Penneys in Ireland, said that summer trading in the UK was “particularly strong”, while sales in continental Europe “remained buoyant”.
Owner Associated British Foods (ABF) said like-for-like sales rose by 3 per cent in the year to 15 September and total sales jumped by 15 per cent.
Trading in newly-opened stores exceeded expectations and the opening of a new shop in Berlin in July saw the company’s most successful first day ever.
“Early sales of the autumn/winter range have been encouraging,” Primark added in its pre-close trading update.
The firm said that its operating margins were lower in the first half of the year because it absorbed higher cotton costs instead of passing them to the consumer. A fall in cotton prices in the latter half of the year meant margins increased, offsetting the fall in the first six months.
With the continuing success of the brand, Primark intends to open more stores by the end of the year, bringing the total number of new shops for 2012 to 19.
Full results will be published in early-November.