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Primark hails 'outstanding year' after profits jump 44%

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.

Primark hailed its "outstanding year". Credit: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

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.

£4.8m from UK to improve Bangladesh work conditions

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.

More than a 1,130 people were killed when Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh Credit: Reuters

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.”

Read: Primark urges factory pay-outs

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Primark: Rana Plaza victims spread all over Bangladesh

Primark has shown ITV News details of its strategy to track down the 550 workers who were employed by its subcontractor in the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh.

The challenge is made harder by the fact that many of the workers and their dependants have left Dhaka and are spread the "length and breadth of Bangladesh," senior executive Paul Lister said.

Read: Primark says it's time rivals also pay Bangladesh factory victims

Primark's Paul Lister shows Laura Kuenssberg a map showing where the 550 workers are living now
Primark's Paul Lister shows Laura Kuenssberg a map showing where the 550 workers are living now Credit: ITV News

Primark, working with the University of Dhaka, has devised a scheme whereby students will travel out to each of the victims in order to assess their level of need.

This data will be entered into touch tablets, which contain software to calculate the level of compensation they can expect.

Primark's Paul Lister demonstrates how one of the touch tablets used to calculate compensation works
Primark's Paul Lister demonstrates how one of the touch tablets used to calculate compensation works Credit: ITV News

Read: What happens next in Bangladesh is partly up to us

Luxury retailers 'sell clothes from Bangladesh factories'

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."

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Primark 'committed to paying compensation'

A Primark spokesman said:

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.

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