Revenues at value fashion retailer Primark soared 25 per cent to £899 million and operating profit jumped 22 per cent to £111 million in the first half, despite a background of tough trading for UK clothing retailers.

Parent company Associated British Foods (ABF) revealed in its interim results for the 24 weeks to March 1 that Primark generated revenues over Christmas were ahead of expectations and there was a 4 per cent increase in like-for-like sales for the first half.

ABF, which also owns food and sugar companies, posted group pre-tax profits up 5 per cent to£282 million and group revenue up 15 per cent to£3.71 billion.

ABF chief executive George Weston said: “These good results demonstrate that the group remains on track, with strong growth from grocery, ingredients and agriculture and another excellent performance from Primark.

“The development of our businesses continued apace, most notably with further substantial investment in sugar and expansion at Primark.”

Primark has increased its retail space substantially since the first half of last year, when the majority of the former Littlewoods store conversions opened. Since the end of the last financial year, Primark has opened shops in Jerez and Madrid, taking its Spanish store count to four. It wants to open a further four in Spain in the second half.

In Ireland, Primark opened in the Wilton Shopping Centre in Cork and relocated to a larger store in Tralee. In the UK, it opened a larger store in Brighton and extended its Manchester store by another floor.