THE parent firm of Primark will be hoping to reveal strong demand from shoppers seeking bargains when it updates shareholders next week.
Associated British Foods (ABF) - which owns the high street chain alongside a raft of grocery brands such as Kingsmill and Ryvita - has seen its shares make a steady upwards march since last autumn.
The group has been buoyed by stronger-than-predicted consumer spending despite the ongoing cost crisis, alongside efforts to boost profitability through cost cutting.
In April, the consumer giant reported that Primark sales jumped by 15 per cent over the half-year to March as a resurgence of office workers and tourists boosted its city centre locations.
ABF will update investors on how its trading has progressed over the third quarter of its financial year with an announcement on Monday June 26.
The company is predicted to reveal continued sales growth in its fashion division but could see a slight slowdown due to weather conditions and tougher annual comparisons, due to the return of shoppers to high streets last spring and summer following the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
Analysts at RBC said: "Primark is very sensitive to weather patterns, particularly at this time of year, hence we think it will have seen a weaker pattern in the UK in Q3, but a strong pick-up in recent weeks."
Experts at the broker, however, stressed that Primark is "well positioned as consumers manage their budgets" and will be boosted by its continued store opening and refurbishment plan.
Despite sales growth for the half-year, earnings were still broadly flat as the company continued to swallow the impact of higher costs in its supply chain and wage increases.
But ABF's grocery business, which also includes brands such as Patak's and Twinings, is expected to show the benefits from recent price hikes and cost efficiencies feeding into its bottom line by the end of the year.
"That's led ABF to expect full-year underlying operating profits from food to be modestly ahead of last year," said Aarin Chiekrie, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
"Monday's announcement will give some steer as to whether those targets are still on track."