Associated British Foods said trading at its Primark fashion retail business had made an "encouraging" start to the 2022-23 year as it reiterated a forecast that group profit would fall over the year.

In a statement published ahead of its annual shareholders' meeting today, AB Foods said it continued to expect significant growth in sales but with adjusted operating profit lower than the 2021-22 outcome.

AB Foods also owns major sugar, grocery, agriculture and ingredients businesses.

Last month the group reported adjusted operating profit of £1.44 billion for 2021-22.

"Our outlook for the full year is unchanged. We continue to expect further significant input cost inflation, but the volatility of our input costs has diminished," said Chairman Michael McLintock.

Primark, which trades as Penneys here, is on track to add 27 new stores in the current financial year, with six open so far, he said.

Shares in AB Foods have fallen 18% so far this year.