BOSSES at Primark's owner have promised customers that the fashion retailer will not increase prices, despite seeing costs jump due to Brexit.

John Bason, finance director at the fashion chain's owner Associated British Foods (ABF), said the company will take a hit to profits rather than pass price increases onto its shoppers.

"Consumers can comfortably expect no price increases. We are managing the decline in the pound and we accept it will affect margin and take that on board ourselves," he said

The firm's finance boss said Primark has a "history" of keeping prices low and will continue to shield its customers while it can.

It said that the recent collapse in the value of the pound due to Brexit uncertainty, alongside the strong dollar, will "increase the cost of goods for next year".

However, it added that, because two thirds of its profit is earned outside the UK, the whole group actually expects to gain £10 million through the weaker pound.

The company said on Monday that profits for the year to September 14 are expected to be in line with expectations, as "strong performances" for Primark and its grocery arm offset a decline in its sugar business.

Shares in ABF slipped 2.1% to close at 2,305p.

Shopping centre giant Intu has seen shares surge higher on the back of reports that a private equity buyer could snap up the retail property group. Shares jumped after it was reported that PE firm Orion Capital Managers is in the early stages of finding partners for a buyout of Intu.

The company, which owns Braehead shopping centre in Glasgow, has seen its share value plummet after rival Hammerson abandoned a £3.4 billion takeover bid in April last year. The company, which declined to comment on the reports, has also been weighed down by the general retail malaise which has resulted in shop closures and the renegotiation of rent agreements.

Shares in the company closed up 10.5% at 40.3p.

Government contractor Interserve has announced it has secured a £13.9 million hospital refurbishment contract.

The company has been chosen by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust to complete the phase one refurbishment of the Roseberry Park Hospital in Middlesbrough.

The contract is the first Interserve has been awarded through its new £100 million construction framework, roughly six months after it was taken over by lenders after collapsing into administration earlier this year. Work is due to start this month on the construction of a new 28-bed ward block and refurbishment to two existing ward blocks, expected to be completed in September 2020.