StockMarketWire.com - Food and clothing conglomerate Associated British Foods upgraded its annual earnings guidance, thanks to a better-than-expected performance from its sugar and Primark businesses.

Adjusted earnings per share for the 53 weeks to 18 September was now expected to be ahead of previous guidance and marginally ahead of last year, the company said.

The guidance, it added, excluded the cost of repayment of job retention scheme monies.

AB Foods said fourth-quarter adjusted operating profit for its food businesses and discount clothing retailer Primark were anticipated to exceed its expectations.

Primark's operating profit margin in the period was strong, it added, despite lower-than-expected sales.

Sugar would deliver a 'much-improved' profit year-on-year, led by a very strong performance at Illovo.

Primark sales in the second half were are expected to be some £3.4 billion.

Its operating profit margin was expected to be over 10%, having benefited from a significant reduction in store labour costs and lower store operating costs. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com