PRIMARK has announced a major update on prices which will bring relief for shoppers.
The boss of Primark’s parent company has promised not to make any further price hikes before next autumn.
He says it’s to put pressure on some of his rivals as shoppers are put under strain during the cost-of-living crisis.
George Weston said that rising prices would have been bad for both the company’s sales and its reputation – and of course it’s good news for shoppers.
He said it “just wasn’t the right thing to do” and that he hoped Primark would continue “being known to be the consumer’s friend, and the best-value retailer on the high street” for years to come.
The retail boss said: “In a year in which it was clear that our consumers will have less money, not more, to push prices on them would a) probably be destructive of sales volume in the year, and b) would be damaging to our reputation in the long run.”
“So it’s an investment in our consumers, it’s an investment in the future, it’s a statement of reality, and maybe, just maybe, it’s no bad time to put a bit of pressure on some others that we compete with.”
The business said the decision is “in the best interests of Primark”, which will support its “everyday affordability and price leadership” and help it grow market share.
However, Mr Weston said that prices have already increased by the low single percentage digits for Primark’s products.
The retailer warned of higher prices in April this year because if rising inflation.
And furious shoppers spotted the changes to prices on labels in autumn when the new range landed.
Primark isn’t the only one to hike prices in the cost of living crisis.
Next said that prices will be up 6% by this winter, and its spring and summer collections will be 3.8% more expensive.
It blamed the jump on increasing operating and wage costs.
High street favourite Nando‘s hiked prices by 8%, adding 55p to the cost of a whole chicken meal.
Meanwhile, the price of aÂ GreggsÂ sausage roll has risen from Â£1.10 to Â£1.15 in recent weeks – an increase of 5p.
Roger Whiteside, the bakery’s chief executive, said staff wages had jumped 6.5% in the last year and ingredient prices have also risen, according to The Times.
Primark said that only around 50% of products have gone up in price, and the children’s ranges have been the least impacted.
Mr Weston added: “Sales, margin and profits at Primark increased significantly as more normal customer behaviour resumed after the pandemic.
“Significant progress was made in building out Primark’s digital capability, which will be a key element in the future development of Primark.”
The business is preparing to launch trials for click-and-collect in 25 shops.
Primark like-for-like sales have broadly returned to pre-Covid levels in the UK, but remain weaker in continental Europe.
Despite rising costs, it was a good year for AB Foods – which also includes British Sugar, which makes sugar from sugar beets and grows medical cannabis.
The business said revenue jumped by more than a fifth to Â£17 billion in the year to September 17, as pre-tax profit increased by nearly half to Â£1.1 billion.
The food business is expected to grow sales significantly this year as it hikes prices for customers, and AB Foods will also bring in some extra cash from the already planned price rises at Primark.
But adjusted operating profit is expected to fall as the business faces cost increases.
It announced an 8% increase in dividends to 43.7p per share, and promised to buy back Â£500 million in shares from investors.
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