Associated British Foods said trading that at its Primark fashion retail business had made an 'encouraging' start to the 2022-23 year as it reiterated a forecast that group profit would fall over the year.
In a statement published ahead of its annual shareholders' meeting on Friday AB Foods, which also owns major sugar, grocery, agriculture and ingredients businesses, said it continued to expect significant growth in sales but with adjusted operating profit lower than the 2021-22 outcome.
Last month the group reported adjusted operating profit of £1.44 billion ($1.77 billion) for 2021-22.
"Our outlook for the full year is unchanged. We continue to expect further significant input cost inflation, but the volatility of our input costs has diminished," said chairman Michael McLintock.
Primark is on track to add 27 new stores in the current financial year, with six open so far, he said.
Shares in AB Foods have fallen 18% so far this year.
The British fashion chain recently set out plans to invest £140 million in its UK store estate over the next two years, betting on its rock-bottom prices luring customers as the country grapples with a cost-of-living crisis.
The plan contrasts with other retailers such as , who have shut shops due to weak footfall and rising costs, while a shift to online shopping, accelerated by the pandemic, has also hampered store revenues.
"The UK is our biggest market, and as we continue to grow and expand our business internationally, we remain as committed as ever to investing in our stores," Paul Marchant, chief executive primark said in a statement.