Discount fashion giant Primark bucked the downward trend seen by many high street retailers over the Christmas period, reporting a huge 4% rise in sales during the 24 weeks leading to 2 March 2019.

This performance, and the performance of FY19 year to date, has helped to offset the low footfall seen by the fast-fashion chain in November and early December. 

The boost in sales is partly down to increased retail footprint, as the company opened another four new stores in 2018, and moved some smaller stores to larger premises towards the back end of last year. A company spokesman has said that this strategic move has helped to offset a decline in like for like sales seen in Q3. 

However, retail and business analysts have said that while Primark has reported some strong numbers, trading is likely to dip once again later this year. 

Fashion retailers continue to be a volatile space, with brands such as Debenhams and Superdry having experienced enormously challenging times in recent months. Yet Primark, despite not having a strong online presence, continues to stand firm in the climate. 

What is Primark doing well? 

Opening new stores while other larger fashion retailers are closing them in swathes is a particularly risky thing to do, however, the brand knows its customers. By opening these larger, more dynamic stores, Primark is enticing its customers in with new offerings weekly, unlike stagnant retailers who perhaps change their ranges just a few times a year. Shoppers are looking for modern and spacious shops with plenty to see and do, and Primark’s investment in the latest in-store tech is now seemingly paying off. This commitment to expanding and improving its retail footprint has placed Primark in a position many other rivals could only dream of. 

Associated British Foods

Primark is owned and managed by Associated British Foods Group (ABF), who reported a total revenue increase of 1% compared with the same period in 2017. 

Primark’s exceptionally strong performance helped to bolster the Group against another decline in its sugar business – ABF Sugar – an area that is down an eye-watering 14%. 

Given the fast-fashion chain’s recent performance, ABF has increased its share in the clothing, footwear and accessories market to ensure it is set for another successful quarter. ABF is expecting sales in Europe to continue to grow by 5% this year, with particularly strong performance expected in Spain, France, Italy and Belgium.