Primark owner Associated British Foods has reported a 42% increase in 2021-22 profit but reiterated its forecast for a drop in profit in its current year due to higher energy and currency costs and consumers' declining disposable income.
The group, which also owns major sugar, grocery, ingredients and agricultural businesses, said it made a year to September 17 adjusted operating profit of £1.435 billion (€1.65 billion), up from £1.01 billion (€1.16 billion) in 2020-21, mainly reflecting a jump in Primark's sales after the end of COVID-related restrictions.
'Diversification and Brand Strength'
"The group delivered strong revenue and profit growth this year in a clear demonstration of the benefits of our diversification, brand strength, and of our commitment to disciplined financing and investment," commented George Weston, chief executive.
"The performance was achieved despite pandemic-induced disruption being followed by high and volatile input cost inflation."
Weston added that sales, margin and profits at Primark "increased significantly" with the return of normal shopping behaviour after the pandemic, while "significant progress" has also been made with regard to Primark's digital offering.
Food Sales Up
The group's Food business saw sales increase by 10%, driven by price recovery, with adjusted operating profit proving 'resilient', the company said.
Unveiling its results, Primark added that it has announced a share buyback programme of £500 million together with an 8% increase in the total dividend.
In the current financial year, we expect significant growth in Group sales from pricing in Food, as well as from some pricing and from space expansion at Primark," Weston added. "Our outlook remains unchanged."