Primark has continued to defy the retail gloom with a 20 per cent uplift in sales in the 40 weeks to June 20.

Sales since the half-year, in the 16 weeks to June 20, soared 21 per cent. It is an improvement on the 18 per cent growth recorded in the first half, when like-for-likes rose 5 per cent.

Primark, which is owned by Associated British Foods, said that the figures reflect an increase in selling space and “excellent like-for-like sales growth, despite trading conditions in UK clothing retailing remaining difficult”.

As of June 20, the retailer traded from 190 stores, across 5.7 million sq ft of trading space.

Since the half-year, the retailer has opened its first stores in Germany –  in Bremen – and Portugal, in Lisbon. Primark also opened a store in Barcelona last month, taking its Spanish store count to 13, as well as a smaller store in Tooting, south London.

Primark is set to open a new store in Bristol before the end of the year, which will replace one of its first UK stores to open in 1974.

Panmure Gordon analyst Graham Jones said of the results: “Primark’s sales growth is even better than its impressive H1 performance.”

Jones estimated that like-for-like growth in the 16 weeks to June 20 was 7 or 8 per cent.

“This is a hugely impressive performance given the economy and performances by its peers, although we believe weather must have been a factor,” he said. “We still expect a margin squeeze in H2, due to the new UK distribution centre and US dollar impact, which we expect to peak in the autumn before easing in the new year.”