Primark hailed its "outstanding year" today after revealing annual profits had jumped by 44% to £514 million - contrasting the fortunes of high street rival Marks and Spencer.
The retailer grew sales by 22% to £4.3 billion in the year to September 30 and the Associated British Foods, which owns Primark as well as leading food brands Twinings and Kingsmill, said it expected another improvement in performance in the current financial year.
The company paid tribute to Primark's buying teams after autumn/winter and spring/summer ranges sold out with little discount, while M&S struggled to kickstart its clothing sales.
Primark has expanded in the UK's major cities with the opening of a second store on London's Oxford Street and extensions to shops in Newcastle and Manchester.
They are also set to open their first store in France, which will be located in Marseille.
New UK support of £4.8 million will go towards the International Labour Organisation's ‘Improving the Working Conditions in the Ready Made Garment sector in Bangladesh’ programme to improve fire safety and protect workers.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:
“April’s factory collapse took a dreadful toll on people in Bangladesh and galvanised much-needed action on safety. Six months on, this UK action will help the Government of Bangladesh, employers and manufacturers make improvements on safety and conditions.
“But there is still a long way to go. Everyone needs to continue to work together to maintain momentum and prevent future tragedies.”
High-end retailers are sourcing garments from the same factories in Bangladesh as Primark but are charging a higher price, one of the company's senior executives, told ITV News.
Paul Lister said: "If you look at who is sourcing out of Bangladesh, you'll see that clearly Primark sources out of Bangladesh, but actually next door to Primark in any given factory could be a Bond Street retailer, sourcing exactly the same sort of garment, sourcing a T-shirt.
"So ours at Primark would be £5 on our shelf, it could be £60 for the Bond Street retailer, in the same factory, with the same conditions, the same workforce, the same pay, as the £5 Primark T-shirt."
Senior Primark executive Paul Lister has told Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg that the company regularly makes unannounced checks on the 88 factories it uses in Bangladesh in a bid to improve safety standards.
Primark takes its responsibilities extremely seriously.
To help alleviate short-term hardship, the company is committed to paying six months wages to more than 3,500 Rana Plaza workers, or their families, irrespective of whether they made clothes at Primark’s supplier or for other major high street names.
Primark is also committed to delivering long-term compensation to the workers employed by its supplier as soon as possible, irrespective of whether other high street names feel able to do the same.