Value fashion giant Primark has reported 17% sales growth and “strong” operating margins during an “excellent” year to date.

The rise, during the 40 weeks to June 19, was driven by increased selling space and like-for-like growth, parent Associated British Foods reported.

Since the end of the first half sales growth has edged back to 15%, affected by the weakness of the euro which hit non-UK revenues when translated into sterling.

Primark’s trading was “particularly strong” in Spain and “very encouraging progress” is being made in other Continental stores.

The retailer said: “Operating margins for the second half of the year have been strong and the margin for the full year is now expected to be ahead of that achieved last year with the benefit from increased volumes more than offsetting higher freight charges and the effect of adverse currency movements on supply costs.”

By the end of the period, Primark was trading from 198 shops with 6.2m sq ft of selling space.