Primark's new stores help ABF's profits

Associated British Foods (ABF) expects a rise in its annual profit.

The British food group has recorded a 17 per cent rise in first-quarter sales reportedly boosted by its discount fashion retailer chain, Primark.

First-quarter results for the 16 weeks to January 2 were led by ABF's 196-outlet Primark store chain. The overall sales rose 19 per cent due to opening of new stores. The company claimed "very good like-for-like sales growth" in Britain and Spain.

In November, ABF said it beat market forecasts with a five per cent rise in 2008-09 earnings. In December, it said that trading in the first two months of its new year was ahead of expectations