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Market Commentary

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 10 November, 2014 ​​​​​​​

Primark to the fore as leading UK retailers announce positive results

Primark owner Associated British Foods says the budget fashion chain has had "another magnificent year", with total sales up 16% to £4.95bn. AB Foods credited an increase in the number of Primark stores, and the popularity of its new ranges for the performance. The chain added 21 new shops in the year, taking its total to 278. Elsewhere, John Lewis announced 0.4% LFL growth in the week to November 1, and despite the Q2 decrease in LFLs for M&S's General Merchandise division, M&S group sales were up 1% to £4.9bn in the half-year to the end of September as its shares rose nearly 10% last week.

Further polarisation of the UK grocery market is evident through the positive sales announcements from M&S's Food division and from Waitrose, as Morrisons revealed a sales drop. Waitrose said that Hallowe'en sales excluding petrol advanced 2.7% to £125m over the week, against tough comparisons, as M&S's premium food division's LFLs rose 0.2% in the second quarter. In comparison, Morrisons posted a 6.3% drop in LFLs in the 13 weeks to November 2, as its turnaround plan is yet to take hold in a very competitive value market.

Elsewhere in the UK retail market, Halfords and Kurt Geiger also announced positive results this week. Halfords reported an 11.2% rise in pre-tax profits and 6.8% rise in sales for the six months to the end of September, while Kurt Geiger reported an 11.2% rise in pre-tax profits and 6.8% rise in sales for the six months to the end of September.

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