Sales climb to £721m
Profits at value retailer Primark leapt 28 per cent to£91 million in the six months to March 3.

Interim results released today by parent company Associated British Foods showed that sales at the chain rose by 36 per cent to£721 million in the period.

Like-for-like sales, adjusted for the impact of new openings, were up 6 per cent. The group attributed sales increases largely to additional selling space following an extensive store-opening programme.

Primark opened 23 stores over the period, bringing its total number to 161 - equivalent to 4.4 million sq ft (408,760 sq m) of selling space. Five smaller shops were closed. The retailer also opened its second store in Spain and said that it was encouraged by trading in both outlets.

Operating profit margin fell from 13.4 per cent to 12.6 per cent.

Overall, pre-tax profits at Associated British Foods, which also owns Allied Bakeries and British Foods, rose 5 per cent to£268 million.