Primark sales were the highlight of Associated British Foods trading update announced today. Associated British Foods is the company behind a wide range of household goods such as Kingsmill bread, Ryvita, Ovaltine and Twinings tea. Primark, the cut price clothing retailer performed well and in a week that will see its high street rivals report their interim results. Next, French Connection and Home Retail Group will all announce interim results and trading updates respectively this week.

Associated British Foods is currently simplifying its IT resources in a major project led by IS Director Trevor Hanna.

Sales and profits at the Primark range of stores was ahead of last year and it will open a further eight stores this year, five in Spain and three in the UK. Primark has also opened a new distribution centre in Northamptonshire. Like-for-like sales are expected to grow by two per cent in the second
Associated British Foods said that the success of Primark had offset the expected decline in its sugar processing business, which has seen a decline in profits in the EU.

IS Director Hanna is creating a shared service for IT in the UK, combining its data centres. Hanna joined Associated British Foods from Reckitt Beckinsher, another producer of household brands such as Harpic and Air Wick.

Unlike Next and French Connection, Primark, as yet, does not retail online.