Associated British Foods’ (ABF) retail segment has reported a 7.5% revenue increase on a constant currency basis in the 24 weeks ending 2 March (H1 2024), reaching £4.5bn ($5.5bn) compared with £4.2bn in H1 2023. 

During the period, the retail segment experienced a 2.1% rise in like-for-like (LFL) sales, bolstered by favourable market responses to pricing strategies and product offerings.  

New stores were instrumental in the segment’s growth, contributing 5.4% to the overall sales increase, driven by the increased selling space and higher sales densities. 

Primark, a key player in the retail division, saw robust sales growth thanks to new store openings and strategic price adjustments made in the previous year to counteract inflationary pressures.  

The brand’s womenswear, menswear, and health and beauty range experienced positive sales trends, supported by effective digital engagement. 

Regionally, the UK market saw sales growth of 4.3%, with LFL sales increasing by 3.6% and sales in Europe, excluding the UK, rose by 7.9%, with new selling space contributing 6.4%. 

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In the US market, ABF’s retail segment recorded a remarkable 38.4% sales growth, primarily driven by successful new store openings.  

The operating profit for the retail segment stood at £508m, marking a 45% increase on an actual FX basis from £351m in the previous year.  

Adjusted operating profit margin also recovered to 11.3%, a substantial rise from 8.3% in the prior year with improvements noted across all countries. 

During H1 2024, the company’s retail selling space expanded, with the company operating 440 stores across 18.416 million square feet of space in half year FY 2024.  

The period saw the opening of nine new stores, including three each in the US and France, as well as two in Spain, and one in Poland. 

Associated British Foods chief executive George Weston said: “This is a very strong set of financial results, as we are now benefitting from the restoration of some normality in our markets and our supply chains.”