Discount retailer Primark is set to benefit from a squeeze on consumer spending this year
19 January, 2018, 02:13
The outlook for ABF's full year as a group remains unchanged, while operating margins are also expected to be roughly the same as last year. But while like-for-like sales in the United Kingdom were "strong", its mainland European business was held back by unusually warm weather in October, it said.
On Thursday the group forecast a sugar revenue and profit decline greater than indicated in November, primarily as a result of significantly lower European Union prices, which hit its British and Spanish businesses.
Associated British Foods said sales for the 16 weeks to 6 January 2018 at Primark were 7 per cent ahead of those reported past year at constant currency driven by increased retail selling space.
The food, ingredients and retail group said it delivered revenue growth across all businesses apart from sugar, which saw revenue fall 13%.
In the United Kingdom, which contributes about half of Primark's revenue, the retailer reported "strong" like-for-like sales growth and market share gains. Primark achieved record sales in the week before Christmas. The company said that it expects 2017 earnings will benefit from a non-underlying one-off non-cash credit from the revaluation of U.S. deferred tax liabilities.
Revenues from continuing operations were 12% behind last year at constant currency, leading to a likely profit reduction greater than previously forecast in the financial year to September. Grocery sales climbed 1pc, thanks to "good sales growth" from Ovaltine and Twinings.
The company's effective tax rate for financial 2018 is expected to fall by 100 basis points, following the recent US tax reforms.
"And after a bumper Christmas, proving Primark can maintain sales to offset weakness elsewhere will be a key challenge when it publishes Q2 results in late February".
Volumes at Allied Bakeries remained strong and some progress had been made in reducing the loss for this financial year, said ABF.
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