Value fashion giant Primark has posted a sharp increase in profits and solid sales for the year ending September 15.

The Associated British Foods-owned chain registered a 20 per cent jump in adjusted operating profit to£200 million, compared with£166 million for the same period a year earlier.

Its operating profit margin was affected by a higher depreciation charge from its recent investment in new stores and a higher level of discounting of the summer season stock.

Total sales soared 37 per cent to£1.6 billion, driven by a substantial increase in new retail space. Primark ramped up its retail selling space by 1.3 million sq ft to 4.8 million sq ft during the year to September 15.

ABF chief executive George Weston said: “Primark is now the second-largest clothing retailer in the UK by volume [based on TNS figures].”

Primark’s overall like-for-like sales increased 1 per cent and its estimated like-for-like growth in stores unaffected by new openings was 7 per cent. In a statement, Primark said that the sales rise was despite the impact of the wet summer weather.