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Primark owner AB Foods forecasts 2017-18 earnings rise


Associated British Foods said on Friday it expected a rise in 2017-18 earnings led by its Primark fashion chain.

In a statement issued to coincide with its annual shareholders' meeting, the group forecast "progress" in adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share (EPS).

"With Primark margins in line with that of our last financial year, we expect an increase in retail profit," it said. The group also added that "progress" was expected from grocery, agriculture and ingredients but it’s the firm’s Primark chain that’s the big headline-grabber after it was a major contributor to last month’s report of adjusted operating profit of £1.36 billion and an adjusted EPS of 127.1p for its 2016-17 year. The brand is almost unique in major fashion retailers in that it doesn’t sell online and doesn’t seem to be suffering as a result. Primark’s mix of very low prices and fast trend reaction have kept footfall to its ever-larger number of stores healthy with both its UK and European ops proving strong. However, it’s less clear how well its US operation is doing with the chain still relatively small there and Primark giving away few details Apart from saying that it is learning a lot about the market there, it hasn’t given any details of specific sales rises or falls. Last month Morgan Stanley downgraded it on concerns that US progress isn’t as fast as investor might have hoped.


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