- Associated British Foods said the anticipated decline in AB Sugar was expected to offset 'strong' profit performances from Primark and the grocery division. The company left its full-year outlook unchanged.

AB Sugar revenue and adjusted operating profit would be down on last year, as previously reported, with 'lower EU sugar prices having impacted our UK and Spanish businesses and a poor crop affecting sales volumes in China,' the company said.

Grocery was expected to deliver revenues ahead of last year with adjusted operating profit well ahead, the company said. Margin improvements were delivered by George Weston Foods in Australia, ACH in the US, Twinings Ovaltine and Acetum.

Sales at Primark, meanwhile, for the full year were expected to be 4% ahead of last year at constant currency and actual exchange rates, driven by increased selling space partially offset by a 2% decline in like-for-like sales.

Sales growth in the fourth quarter increased, driven by an improvement in like-for-like performance, while early trading of the new autumn and winter range had been 'encouraging,' the company said.

'In the next financial year, we are planning to add a net 1 million sq ft of additional selling space, weighted to the second half. France and Spain will see the most space added and we expect to open 19 new stores together with a number of relocations and extensions,' the company added.

The adoption of accounting standard, IFRS 16, if applied to this financial year on a pro forma basis, was expected to result in a reduction in the group's adjusted earnings per share of no more than 2%, ABF said.

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