Primark's profits soar as M&S's fall

Primark’s parent company posted “excellent” performance today, announcing it had made annual pre-tax profits of £761m.

Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer profits fell by almost 10% to £290m for the last six months. Food sales rose by 3.4%, but clothing and homeware departments stumbled at the UK’s biggest clothing retailer, the company said.

M&S said that the market had been hit by bad weather, weak consumer confidence and pressure on disposable incomes. The store saw no Olympic boost, and in May reported its first fall in annual profits for three years. In the 2011/2012 year, pre-tax profits were down 16% to £658m.

This stands in sharp relief to Primark owner Associated British Foods, which saw revenues rise 15% for the year to 15 September.

Primark said it created 10,000 new jobs in the last 12 months. It now employs 43,000 worldwide across its 242 stores. Just less than half of these stores are in the UK.

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