Associated British Foods

Ticker ABF

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As of 16:41 16 Jul 2019
Market cap. Pound sterling
18,311.42 million
As of 16:41 16 Jul 2019

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Primark sales 'decline'

Primark bags

Associated British Foods has issued a trading update saying group revenue from continuing businesses for the 40 weeks ended 22 June 2019 was 3% up on the same period last year.

It expects "good profit growth" in its retailing arm Primark year and says its outlook for the group;s results is unchanged.

At Primark it sales in the year-to-date were 4% ahead of last year as increased selling space "partially offset by a decline in like-for-like sales".

It said Primark recorded a "further significant increase" in market share but that like-for-like sales - which strip out store closures - were "held back by unseasonable weather in May which compared to a favourable market environment in the corresponding period last year".

"We have seen an improvement in sales in June," it added.

'Sound' Primark

Primark bags

More on Associated British Food which reported results this morning.

Its shares are down 1.3%.

Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, this is because sales at its clothing arm, Primark, have fallen 2%.

“The full year outlook remains unchanged with adjusted operating profit in line with last year. We therefore continue to maintain our 'hold' recommendation as the longer term growth prospects for Primark remain sound and there is increasing global demand for food, although the sugar business remains a concern,” he said.

Primark sales up

primark store front with people walking past
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Association British Foods has published a trading update for the first half of its financial year.

It said: "For the half year, other than the expected reduction in sugar revenue, sales growth will be delivered by all of our businesses. We expect adjusted earnings per share to be broadly in line with the same period last year, with lower net financial expenses offsetting a small reduction in adjusted operating profit."

At Primark, its clothing arm, sales are expected to be 4% ahead of last year in the first half and like-for-like sales down 2%.

"With a much higher margin, profit is expected to be well ahead of the same period last year. Early trading of the new spring/summer range has been encouraging," the company said.

No deal 'would be reckless', says Associated British Foods

Leaving the European Union without a deal would be reckless, according to John Bason, finance director at Associated British Foods, which owns Primark.

He tells Reuters: "If anybody believes that you can just go ahead without some sort of an agreement here, I think that that is reckless.

"The UK's food supply generally is dependent on the free flowing border."

Sage Group leads FTSE risers

Shares in Sage Group, the UK software firm, leapt to the top of the FTSE 100 risers after it said its organic service revenue grew by 7.6% in the first quarter to £465m.

Sage's share price rose 7.3% to 638.7p, closely followed by Primark-owner Associated British Foods whose stock added 5.7% to £23.00 after reporting its results.

Whitbread is one of the morning's biggest fallers, down 4.4% to £45.64, after the pubs and hotel operator gave a cautious outlook for its financial year.

The FTSE 100 is now down 0.47% at 6,830.56.

Like-for-like sales slip at Primark

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Sales at Primark are down after the High Street retailer saw weak trading in November, according to owner Associated British Foods.

In the 16 weeks to 5 January, like-for-like sales fell "modestly" largely because of reduced footfall during November, although sales over the crucial Christmas trading period "exceeded expectations".

Associated British Foods said: "Our outlook for the group is unchanged, with adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share for the year expected to be in line with last year."

Total sales at Primark, including new retail space opened in the 16 weeks to 5 January, rose by 4%.

Good morning!

Welcome to Business Live this Thursday morning and what will be another roller-coaster day thanks to Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with MPs from across the Commons today to try and find a way forward - and we'll bring you all the reaction from the stock and currency markets.

In the meantime, retailers will continue to publish their trading figures for Christmas.

Primark, which is owned by Associated British Foods, will give an update as will specialist retailer N Brown.

Whitbread, which has sold its Costa Coffee chain to Coca-Cola, and Premier Foods, home of Mr Kipling's exceedingly good cakes, will also announce figures.

As always, we'd love to hear from you. Email us at

OPEC deal boosts oil stocks

Oil pumps
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The FTSE 100 ended the week on the up, closing 1.28% ahead at 6,789.74.

John Wood Group, the oil services business, finished the day at the top of the blue chip risers, with its share price up 4.42% at 628p.

A production cut by OPEC and its allies sent oil companies to the top of both indexes.

On the FTSE 250, Premier Oil's share price rose 14.75% to 75.85, followed by Tullow Oil, up 7.4% at 189.6p and Cairn Energy, ahead 4.8% at 167.7p.

An earlier statement by Primark that it had experienced a "challenging November" meant that its parent company, Associated British Foods, was the biggest faller on the FTSE 100.

Its share price fell 4.6% at £22.42.

The FTSE 250 ended 0.51% higher at 0.51% at 17,844.11.