PRIMARK owner Associated British Foods saw annual profits come under pressure as difficulties in its sugar business and a currency hit offset another strong performance from its high-street clothing retailer.
The group, which includes the Silver Spoon and Twinings brands, said sales at the fashion chain rose 13 per cent over the year to 12 September as it opened another 20 stores, including its first shop in the United States. It hopes to add another 1.5 million square feet of space over the coming financial year. However, a third year of “significant” profit falls in the group’s struggling sugar arm, where profits fell by 76 per cent to £43 million, hit overall group results. This led to underlying full-year pre-tax profits falling by 6 per cent to £1.03 billion. On a statutory basis, profits were 30 per down at £717m. AB Foods, which trades in a number of currencies, has been hit by falling world sugar prices, the impact of currency movements and the strong pound.