Primark has unveiled an increase in total and like-for-like sales over Christmas.

Primark’ sales rose 7% in the 16 weeks to January 6, helped by increased selling space. Like-for-likes in the UK were “strong”, parent Associated British Foods reported.

At actual exchange rates, sales rose 9%.

In Primark’s core domestic market, the retailer reported it had increased market share and that trading “reflected the breadth of our consumer offering”.

Sales growth across Europe was “held back by unseasonably warm weather in October” but the retailer achieved “good trading in the five weeks leading up to Christmas”.

In the US, Primark “continued to make progress”.

Operating margins in the first half will be “close to those in the same period last year with better buying virtually offsetting the adverse effect of the weaker sterling/US dollar exchange rate on purchases”.

By the period end, Primark was trading from 350 stores, equating to 14.2 million sq ft versus 13.1 million sq ft a year ago.

The retailer expects to open 1.2 million sq ft this financial year.