- Associated British Foods said it continued to expect its sugar division to benefit 'materially' from rising EU sugar prices and estimated a 'small' drop in margins at discount clothing retailer Primark.

The company's grocery division was expected to deliver another year of 'strong profit and margin growth,' it added.

Primark, meanwhile, would see full-year margins suffer a small reduction on-year, with 'the effect of a weaker sterling on purchases being largely offset by cost reductions in both the cost of goods and overheads'.

'At this early stage in our new financial year, I would reiterate the outlook that we included in my statement in the annual report,' chairman Michael McLintock said.

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