Value clothing chain Primark has seen a strong first-half, with same-store sales up 8% in the past six months, owner Associated British Foods (ABF) said today (22 February).

Christmas trading “was ahead of expectations,” ABF said, and the company's 14 Spanish stores booked “an exceptionally strong performance.”

Total sales were also boosted by the opening of five new stores in the UK, Germany, Portugal and Belgium.

Primark, which currently has 196 stores, is due to open another six stores in the UK and Spain during the coming year.

ABF, which also owns grocery brands and a sugar business, said it expects operating profit for the six months to 27 February to be well ahead of last year, with growth set to continue in the second half.

The company is due to release its interim results on 20 April.