ASSOCIATED British Foods today said revenues were up by 14% after the continued strong performance of UK-based retail chain Primark.

The conglomerate, which also owns household brands Kingsmill, Silver Spoon and Twinings, said Primark was enjoying an "excellent year" following impressive trading in Spain and further progress in continental Europe.

Primark trades from 198 stores and is due to open another five outlets by the end of August, including at sites in Bury and Blackburn. The chain’s revenues were up by 17% in the first 40 weeks of the company’s financial year, including a rise of 15% in the last 16 weeks of the period to June 19.

AB Foods said the slight weakening in the revenue trend in recent weeks reflected the impact of the weaker euro against sterling.

It added that margins were ahead of last year as the benefits of increased volumes more than offset higher freight charges and the effect of currency movements on supply costs, particularly goods sourced in US dollars.

The company’s grocery arm delivered revenues growth of 5% in the most recent quarter, helped by good growth from Twinings Ovaltine after a poor showing last year and a strong performance by Kingsmill in the face of strong competition.

The relaunch of Indian food brand Patak’s and a promotional drive behind Jordans and Ryvita boosted growth in its Whole Foods business.

AB Foods added that quarterly revenues from its sugar division were 44% ahead of last year due to the acquisition of Spanish firm Azucarera and an excellent season for its UK business, which produced 1.3 million tonnes of sugar.

The company, which has been a darling of the City through the recession with a string of forecast-beating results, said overall trading since April left it on track to deliver "very good progress" in full-year earnings.