Food and retail company Associated British Foods has reported a 12 per cent annual profits rise, boosted by the booming value fashion chain Primark.

AB Foods said pre-tax profit grew to £590 million for the year ended 17 September, meeting analyst forecasts.

AB Foods chief executive George Weston said the group's growth mirrors contribution from acquisitions as well as further growth in primary units "such as international hot beverages, US branded grocery and Primark, which had an outstanding performance".

Primark's profits leapt 30 per cent to £108m during the year, on a 17 per cent sales rise to £1 billion. Second-half same-store sales grew 12 per cent, leading to full-year growth of 9 per cent.

Weston added: "We have also laid firm foundations for long-term growth with over £1.5bn invested in acquisitions and capital expenditure."

The company is confident in Primark's recovery strategy after its key UK warehouse was gutted by fire last week, causing the loss of half its goods.

AB Foods is planning to grow the Primark portofilio - which currently consists of 122 stores - with the addition of 41 stores bought from Littlewoods and Allders.