Fast fashion . . . how Primark's sales have soared to £9 billion

Primark saw its sales rise to £9 billion the year to September. Picture: Mal McCann
Primark saw its sales rise to £9 billion the year to September. Picture: Mal McCann

FAST fashion retailer Primark grew its sales by 15% to £9 billion over the year to September, its parent company Associated British Foods (ABF) has confirmed.

The chain, which has 191 stores in the UK including nine in Northern Ireland, implemented "selective price increases" for shoppers after reporting a spike in costs to make products and operate shops.

And ABF said that Primark sales surpassed all expectations from last year as demand increased across its markets, despite the increased pricing (UK sales alone were up 11%).

Primark currently employs more than 70,000 staff at 432 shops across 14 countries in Europe and the US.

Founded in Ireland in June 1969 by Arthur Ryan under the Penneys brand, Primark says its aim is to provide affordable choices for everyone, from great quality everyday essentials to stand-out style across women’s, men’s, and kids, as well as beauty, homeware and accessories.

The chain continues to expand across new and existing markets with the aim of reaching 530 stores by the end of 2026, including upcoming new markets of Romania and Slovakia.

Primark's flagship Bank Buildings store in Belfast reopened in November 2022 following four years of complex redevelopment after it was destroyed by a fire in August 2018 while a £30m extension and refurbishment was nearing completion.

The Primark store in Belfast was destroyed by a fire on August 28 2018
The Primark store in Belfast was destroyed by a fire on August 28 2018

Owners Associated British Foods, which also runs large grocery, ingredients and agriculture operations, revealed the massive hike in Primark profits and sales as shoppers continued to shop "enthusiastically" at the fashion chain despite price rises and budget pressures.

Overall ABF company profits jumped by a quarter to £1.34 billion over the year, led by Primark.

It hailed the sales performance in the face of poor weather conditions over the final half of the year, which impacted high street footfall.

As a whole, AB Foods group revenue increased by 16% to £19.7 billion for the year, as it was also boosted by higher pricing in other areas.

Sales in its grocery business, which includes brands such as Twinings, Ryvita and Patak's, grew by 12% to £4.2 billion after passing higher costs on to consumers.

It said this division was buoyed by an improved performance in its Allied Bakeries business, which makes Kingsmill bread.

However, AB Foods said Ryvita continued to "under-perform" over the year but has seen early positive results following a brand relaunch.

George Weston, chief executive of Associated British Foods, said: "At the outset of this financial year the group was facing very significant economic challenges caused in part by major geo-political events.

"Looking back on the year, it is clear to me that the group performed extremely well and is as a result now well positioned for the year ahead."