UK fast fashion chain Primark has reported third quarter sales 14% ahead of last year, reflecting an increase in retail selling space and expansion in Spain.

Primark described its trading in the third quarter as "resilient" but said like-for-like sales growth was held back by weak trading in April when poor weather this year contrasted with warm weather and the benefit of Easter trading last year.

The UK's second largest clothing retailer is now trading from 179 stores with 5.2m square feet of selling space.

Marks & Spencer, the UK's number one clothing retailer, said last week that its quarterly like-for-like sales of general merchandise, including clothing and footwear, were down by 6.2%.

In the second half of its financial year, Primark has opened new stores in Bilbao, Oviedo and two more stores in Madrid, bringing its total in Spain to eight.

New stores have also been opened in Basingstoke and Ealing in the UK, with a further two stores planned to open in Spain and one in Derby in the UK by the year end.

Parent company Associated British Foods (ABF) said that as a consequence of Primark's continued growth, options were being evaluated for an increase in warehouse capacity in the UK and Ireland.

ABF itself said that its group revenue was up 19% for the 40 weeks to 21 June with supporting growth from its Agriculture, Grocery and Ingredients units.

It has anticipated continued high commodity costs and substantial increases in energy prices for the rest of the year, but said group profit should show progress in the second half.

Last month more than 4.2m viewers in the UK tuned into the Panorama documentary "Primark: On the Rack", which unearthed child labour at unknown Primark sub-contractors in India, prompting the fashion chain to axe three factories in Southern India because they had broken its ethical code of conduct.