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Primark and British Sugar owner bolstered by Brexit-hit pound

PUBLISHED: 10:17 12 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:17 12 January 2017

The Primark store at the Haymarket, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Primark store at the Haymarket, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Primark and British Sugar owner Associated British Foods (ABF) said sales at the retailer have jumped by more than fifth thanks to a boost from the Brexit-hit pound.

The fashion retailer saw sales at actual exchange rates leap 22% compared with last year as it also benefited from a 16% increase in selling space in the 16 weeks to January 7.

Like-for-like sales for the period were good and market share had stepped up, but group like-for-like sales were pegged back by a drop-off in Germany and the Netherlands.

ABF group revenues rose 22% as the company enjoyed a fillip from sterling’s weakness following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

On currency, the firm said its operating profit margin would decline throughout the year as it grapples with the impact of the strong US dollar on input costs.

ABF was also riding high on the back of a “substantial increase in profit” for its sugar business after higher sugar prices bolstered production in Africa.

Revenues at AB Sugar at actual exchange rates were up 38% on last year and climbed 22% at constant exchange rates.

It added: “With 2016/17 forecast to be a second year of global sugar deficit, world prices are much higher than last year.”

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