StockMarketWire.com - Associated British Foods said Friday that sales and profits were in line with expectations during the first eight weeks of the new fiscal year, though clothing retailer Primark encountered a 'tough' retail backdrop.

During November trading at Primark was 'challenging' in a tough retail market, chairman Michael McLintock said.

However, McLintock added that with 'careful inventory management and improved margins' the company's expectation for an increase in Primark profit was unchanged.

Following the opening of a store in Belfast on Saturday, Primark would be trading from 364 stores, with a total selling space of 15.1m square feet.

In grocery, ABF said it expected to see an improvement in profit from a margin increase at its Australian and UK businesses and a full year contribution from Acetum.

Profit at AB Sugar, however, would be 'significantly lower', reflecting a full-year effect of EU sugar prices.

The company reiterated its outlook statement for the current financial yearm, estimating adjusted earnings per share growth in line with the 2018 financial year. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com