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In a brief AGM statement, ABF said the strategy was enabling it to address rocketing price inflation in current volatile global markets.

“Given the understandable concerns around the market about the scope for current external matters, particularly around the ongoing pandemic, to negatively influence ABF’s trading performance, we welcome the content of this update,”​ Shore Capital director and head of research Clive Black said.

Black described ABF’s statement as ‘encouraging’ and ‘reassuring’.

‘In line with expectations’

In the update, which followed ABF’s report on its full-year results on 9 November, ABF chairman, Michael McLintock stated: “Trading to date in our new financial year across grocery, sugar, ingredients and agriculture has been in line with expectations.

“We are experiencing the impact of widely-reported port congestion and road freight limitations and our businesses have been working hard to overcome these difficulties.

“We have seen an escalation in the cost of energy, logistics and commodities and we have been implementing plans to offset these through operational cost savings and, where necessary, the implementation of price increases.”

Reassuringly, ABF reported that trading was ‘ahead of expectations’ in its Primark clothing retail business.

‘Expect significant progress’

“Taking these factors into account, we continue to expect significant progress, at both the half and full year, in adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share for the group,”​ McLintock concluded.

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