Primark targets Florence store in 2017
Sales at Primark are expected to have climbed 4pc in the six months to the end of this week as trading improved after Christmas and margins strengthened.
Associated British Foods (ABF), which owns the chain that trades as Penneys in Ireland, said that on a constant currency basis, sales at the retailer are likely to be 7.5pc higher in the period.
"Cumulative like-for-like sales have improved since the January trading update and are expected to be level with last year in the first half after better trading during the period since then," it said in a trading update.
Dublin-headquartered Primark's sales had been hit in the run-up to Christmas and during the festive season as a result of unseasonably warm weather.
"Early trading at our two new stores in the US has been encouraging," added ABF, "with the range and concept being well-received."
The company opened its first ever US store last September, in Boston.
"We expect to open a further six stores in the US later this calendar year and a 70,000 sq ft store in the American Dream shopping mall in New Jersey in calendar 2017," it said.
"Our plans are well advanced for the opening, in April, of our first Italian store at Arese, north-west of Milan, and we also plan to add a store in a mall north of Florence by the summer of 2017."
ABF's activities stretch from retail and grocery, to agricultural products and sugar production.
It said that the underlying trading outlook for the group for the full year is unchanged.