Primark sales have risen thanks to new space as like-for-likes declined over the past three quarters.

Sales in the 40 weeks to June 22 rose 4% but were partially offset by a decline in like-for-like sales. Primark did not specify by how much like-for-likes had fallen.

The retailer said margin was challenged because of a strong dollar but still expects its margin to increase this year. It improved from 9.8% the previous year to 11.7% in the first half thanks to strong buying and fewer markdowns.

Sales grew in the UK with Primark gaining a “significant” increase in market share, but like-for-likes were affected by unseasonable weather in May compared with a very hot start to summer last year. Sales improved in June and trading at new stores in Birmingham and Manchester was “strong”.

The retailer said it had been pleased by customers’ reaction to its food, beverage and beauty services in Birmingham.

European sales were also affected by poor weather in May, but trading “recovered strongly” in June with revenues growing in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Trading in Germany is still weak as the wider economic situation continues to affect retail.

In the US, the business delivered “encouraging” like-for-like and strong total sales growth. It will now open stores at the American Dream mall in New Jersey, Sawgrass Mills in Florida and a store on State Street, Chicago.