Strong figures at Primark have helped bolster growth for Associated British Foods (ABF).

In a pre-close trading update, the group said that like-for-like sales at Primark rose 4 per cent, with trading over the Christmas period exceeding expectations.

At its half year mark, Primark will have 173 stores. Recent openings will include stores in Jerez, Andalucia and Madrid. It plans to open eight stores in its second half, including four in Spain.

In January, first quarter sales at ABF increased 13 per cent. In its last financial year, Primark’s total sales rose 37 per cent.