TJX Europe, the company which operates off-price fashion chain TK Maxx in the UK, said that like-for-like sales rose 1% in the first quarter to May 1.

The figure compares with a 6% rise in like-for-likes in the first quarter of the previous year.

Total sales at TJX Europe, which operates TK Maxx stores in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Germany and Poland, were $515m (£360.3m) compared with $421m (£294.6m) in the same period last year, according to TJX Europe’s ultimate parent company, US giant TJX Companies.

TJX Companies said that total sales for the group which trades off-price fashion and homewares retailers in the US, Canada and Europe rose 15% to $5bn (£3.5bn) during the quarter and like-for-likes rose 9%. Gross profit rose 27.3%.

TJX Companies president and chief executive Carol Meyrowitz said: “The momentum in our business was driven by continued increases in customer traffic, reinforcing the appeal of our great values and indicating to us that consumers will remain focused on value in both weak and strong economic environments.

“Going forward, with our wide demographic reach, we are reinvesting in our stores and heightening our marketing campaigns to attract and retain more new customers, and we are sourcing new, exciting product in the marketplace.“

TJX Europe is readying itself for an ambitious European expansion strategy which will see it open hundreds of stores across Europe and the business has made a number of appointments to support the plans.