Growing its store base is vital to the value clothing retailer for increasing market share
Associated British Foods (ABF) subsidiary Primark has increased sales from£752 million to£858 million during the year ended September 18.

Operating profit was increased by 23 per cent to£108 million. Like-for-like sales grew 6 per cent, because of better buying decisions and favourable currency exchange rates.

The retailer claims to hold more than 10 per cent of the value clothing market. It opened four UK stores during the period, and plans to open another two new shops before Christmas, bringing the retailer's estate to 122 outlets.

The retailer said that the availability of good high street sites was a limiting factor and that considerable management attention is focused on securing further sites. The retailer said that it planned to break into Europe with a small number of stores in the Madrid area in 2005.

ABF chief executive Peter Jackson said: 'A key challenge for Primark is to find the right sites to bring their offering to a wider public. Some progress has been made in finding new stores, but the year saw a major focus on extending existing stores, including Manchester, Romford and Mary Street in Dublin.'