Primark has reported its sales were up 15% for the 16 weeks ending January 3, driven by increased selling space and high sales densities.

The retailer, which is owned by Associated British Foods, said that while like-for-likes were affected by the warm autumn, trading over the last five weeks, including Christmas, was strong.

In the year to date, the UK, Ireland and Iberia markets have each achieved like-for-like sales growth.

Total like-for-like sales growth for the retailer was held back by the impact on existing stores of the new store openings in the Netherlands and Germany, although total sales in northern continental Europe were well ahead of last year.

As a result of the weakening of the euro against sterling, total Primark sales were 12% ahead of the same period last year at actual exchange rates. Operating profit margin in the period was in line with expectations but lower than last year because of a higher level of markdown.

Primark increased selling space by 0.5 million sq ft since the financial year end.

The retailer said it is making good progress in building its management team in the US in anticipation of its launch there later this year. It has signed eight leases in the northeast of the country, including seven from Sears, and a lease has been signed for warehouse space located in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.