CORRECTED-Primark props up sales at AB Foods as sugar slumps

Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:36am EST

(In second paragraph corrects end of financial year to Sept. 14 from Sept. 24)

BERLIN Jan 16 (Reuters) - Associated British Foods said sales at its Primark discount fashion chain recovered over Christmas after they were dampened by unseasonably warm autumn weather, although it said performance of its sugar unit was weaker than expected.

AB Foods said group revenue was flat for the 16 weeks to Jan. 4, compared to 9 percent growth for the financial year that ended on Sept. 14, with Primark growth of 12 percent helping make up for a fall of 27 percent for the sugar business.

It said the operating profit margin at Primark, which generates almost a third of AB Foods' group sales, was better than expected and higher than in the same period last year and predicted Primark's profit in 2014 would be well ahead of 2013.

AB Foods also reiterated its group outlook for adjusted earnings per share for 2013/14 to be similar to 2012/13. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Paul Sandle)