Total sales at discount fashion chain Primark surged 16pc in the first quarter of owner Associated British Food's (ABF) fiscal year, with the performance described as "exceptional".
Primark, which trades as Penneys in Ireland, delivered "particularly strong" trading over the Christmas period after a slower start to the financial year due to unusually warm weather, according to ABF.
ABF, which released a trading update yesterday, didn't provide financial details of its performance in the first quarter. Like-for-like sales at Primark are estimated by analysts to have climbed 3pc in the period.
ABF added that it now has 232 stores and will open additional outlets in Spain during the second half of the current financial year.
The Primark operation is run out of Dublin and is headed by Paul Marchant. He took over from Dubliner Arthur Ryan in 2009.
ABF is involved in a range of sectors, from sugar production to livestock feed. It's controlled by the Weston family, which also owns Selfridges and Brown Thomas.
The group also owns a number of well-known household brands such as Ryvita, Twinings, Patak's and Ovaltine. Retail sales from its grocery portfolio climbed 4pc in the first quarter.
It said that revenues from its sugar business -- ABF is the world's second largest producer -- were up 21pc in the first quarter, as prices for the crop in Europe rose. It harvests sugar beet in the UK and Spain, while it also harvests sugar cane in China.
ABF added that its first quarter results were in line with expectations. But it warned that economic uncertainty, particularly in the eurozone, and continued pressure on consumers' disposable incomes, are expected to remain "key features" of the financial year.