CHEAP beachwear is powering Primark sales as people prepare earlier than ever for summer getaways.
Primark owner Associated British Foods swept away lingering gloom yesterday by revealing shoppers’ appetites were proving more resilient than expected.
Cheap beachwear is powering Primark sales as people prepare earlier than ever for summer getaways
The fashion retailer said sales had been “well ahead of expectations” throughout January and February and is now expecting UK like-for-like sales to be 14 per cent higher this year. In the last six months it has made £4.2billion, almost a fifth more than last year.
Sales of casual suits and holiday outfits have been strong, as people return to offices and begin booking summer holidays.
Airlines BA, EasyJet and Ryanair have all reported a rush of bookings this year after pent-up demand during the pandemic.
Experts had worried that retailers faced a tough time as consumers struggled with festive spending hangovers and the cost-of-living crisis.
However, John Bason, ABF finance director, said: “The feared drop-off hasn’t happened. Many people still have a bit of money to spend. People are spending sensibly on a tight budget.”
Primark said its low prices were encouraging customers to switch retailer to save money, while it hopes to entice more shoppers with its promise not to hike prices any further this year.
“I dislike the term trading down because it suggests that once people have money again they’ll leave, but I think our customers are loyal and a lot of them will stick,” Mr Bason said.
OCTOPUS IN COURT
BRITISH GAS owner Centrica will argue in court today that Octopus Energy‘s takeover of Bulb should be halted as the Government acted irrationally in backing the deal.
Centrica, Eon and Scottish Power object to a lack of transparency, as they were not told of the subsidies and loans offered to Octopus, so did not tender rival bids.
Centrica’s lawyers will argue the bidding process was secretive, discriminatory and uncompetitive.
WOMEN’S TOP JOBS JUMP JOY
BRITAIN’S top 350 biggest listed companies have met a target of making their boards 40 per cent female, well ahead of a 2025 deadline.
A decade ago almost half of FTSE 350 companies had no women at all on their boards.
Last week Marks & Spencer became a female-majority board after hiring Cheryl Potter from private equity to join
There has since been steady progress with almost 40.2 per cent of FTSE 350 board positions — which includes companies ranging from Aviva to Wizz Air — held by women.
The vast majority of the 350 companies now have three or more women on their board. But there are still fewer than 20 female FTSE 350 chief execs.
Last week Marks & Spencer became a female-majority board after hiring Cheryl Potter from private equity to join.
Britain’s 50 biggest private firms are slightly behind, although women now hold a third of leadership positions.
Minister for Women Maria Caulfield said: “I’m delighted to see this huge progress, years ahead of when we expected it.”
LACK OF MANUEL LABOUR WOULD SCUPPER FAWLTY
FAWLTY Towers has been ranked as the most iconic TV business of all time — but it would struggle even more in today’s environment.
Experts at Funding Circle, who ran the poll, reckon the chaotic hotel would be battered by poor Tripadvisor reviews, waiter Manuel would likely have returned to Barcelona and it would have been hit by Covid curbs.
Fawlty Towers has been ranked as the most iconic TV business of all time
Basil, Polly, Sybil and Manuel in classic comedy
There would be hope, though, for owner Basil Fawlty — soon to feature in a reboot of the 70s sitcom — to cash in on a tourism boost from the King’s Coronation.
Corrie’s Rovers Return was ranked the second most famous TV business, with EastEnders’ Queen Vic third.
NICE CATCH, BEEFY!
BRITAIN’S battery factory hopes have been saved, partly thanks to Ian “Beefy” Botham.
The rescue of Britishbolt by Australia’s Recharge Industries was completed yesterday after administrators gave it the green light.
Britain’s battery factory hopes have been saved, partly thanks to Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham
RI, run by David Collard, has claimed support from former England cricket hero Lord Botham, who is now trade envoy to Oz.
Britishvolt collapsed with 200 jobs lost.
A TOTAL of £1.6billion is to be invested in boosting sewage treatment works by Thames Water over the next two years after its boss admitted so many leaks were “unacceptable”.
Sarah Bentley said there had been “decades of underinvestment”.
TOODLE PIP AT JL
THE boss of John Lewis stunned retail experts yesterday by leaving her role with immediate effect, after less than three years.
Pippa Wicks, left, shut 16 stores during the pandemic and scrapped the firm’s “Never knowingly undersold” price promise but the chain is finally showing signs of improvement.
John Lewis’s retail director Naomi Simcock takes up the reins on an interim basis.