Primark has continued to resist Europe's economic woes after an "exceptional" year in which it racked up £3.5bn in sales and created 10,000 new jobs.
The budget chain, which has 158 of its 244 stores in the UK, grew operating profits by 15% to £356m in the year to September 15, parent company Associated British Foods said yesterday.
Primark's like-for-like sales were 3% higher, with UK trading "particularly strong" in the summer and Europe still buoyant despite tough economic conditions in three of its markets - Ireland, Spain and Portugal.
Nineteen new stores were opened in the year and a further 12 stores will have opened for Christmas, including a second store in Austria, while Primark plans to complete the expansion of its city centre stores in Manchester and Newcastle by spring.
The business, which has doubled annual sales since 2007, employs more than 43,000 people.
AB Foods said operating profits topped the £1bn mark for the first time, up 17% at £1.08bn.