Primark enjoys bumper festive UK gross sales because of heels and saggy fits

Robust gross sales of heels, saggy fits and knitwear propelled Primark’s gross sales forward of expectations over Christmas as customers returned to metropolis centres and shopper spending was extra resilient than anticipated.

Gross sales on the cut-price style chain’s established shops rose by 11% within the 4 months to 17 January, in contrast with the identical interval a yr earlier than, because the proprietor, Related British Meals (ABF), stated it had bought extra objects of clothes whereas costs had additionally risen by about 8%.

Within the UK, gross sales have been up by 15%, almost all of which was like-for-like development, stripping out assist from new retailer openings. It stated the numbers of customers visiting metropolis centres – which have been hit through the pandemic by the shift to residence working – have been up strongly, having caught up with retail parks and buying centres which bounced again extra shortly.

“Gross sales of heels are again to pre-Covid ranges,” John Bason, the ABF finance director, stated. He added that the general clothes market was up 5% within the UK as folks clearly had extra money to spend than had been anticipated and have been “out socialising and desirous to take pleasure in themselves” in addition to returning, a minimum of part-time, to the workplace.

Primark had catered to the development for “dopamine dressing” with brightly colored comfortable tailoring that might be worn to work after which on an evening out. It additionally benefited from these looking for out heat clothes to put on indoors and out through the December chilly snap.

The corporate had grown quicker than rivals, Bason stated, because it had invested in its shops and attracted customers seeking to save money by switching away from on-line buying. “If you would like residence supply and returns you’ll pay greater than in Primark,” he stated.

The retailer’s efficiency echoes comparable experiences at Subsequent and Marks & Spencer, which did properly in shops, whereas the web specialists Boohoo and Asos reported gross sales falling again amid considerations about deliveries.

Primark doesn’t promote on-line, but it surely stated a brand new service enabling customers to purchase kids’s objects on the web for pickup in 25 UK shops had gone properly whereas the choice to test inventory availability specifically shops had led to an 85% leap in web site site visitors and helped tempt customers again to the excessive road.

Complete gross sales at ABF rose 16% as its groceries group – which incorporates manufacturers resembling Twinings and Kingsmill – in addition to its sugar and elements companies contributed to development.

“Shopper spending has proved to be extra resilient on this buying and selling interval than anticipated firstly of the monetary yr,” the corporate stated in a press release.

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It added that buying and selling by way of January had been encouraging however warned “macro-economic headwinds stay and should weigh on shopper spending within the months forward”.

Regardless of the higher than anticipated gross sales efficiency, ABF stated its revenue expectations for the yr remained unchanged – suggesting ongoing stress from inflation.

The group stated it continued to “encounter vital value pressures” in order that revenue margins have been prone to be down for the yr, but it surely stated “inflation has turn out to be much less risky and not too long ago some commodity prices have declined”.

Bason stated Primark wouldn’t put up costs till a minimum of September however there was prone to be extra inflation on meals this yr as power prices remained excessive and the power of the greenback made shopping for issues abroad dearer.