UK value retailer Primark has recorded an "outstanding" first half performance, according to its owner Associated British Foods (ABF).

The company expects its first half results to be ahead of expectations, with Primark sales expected to be 23% ahead of the same period last year.

ABF attributed the growth to very strong like-for-like sales, combined with a substantial increase in selling space and superior sales densities.

It said like-for-like sales growth of 7% benefited from comparison with weak sales during the unseasonably warm autumn in 2011 and good trading over the Christmas period.

Operating profit also improved on lower cotton prices and better trading.