Associated British Foods, owner of Primark, plans 'significant expansion' of the value fashion business. The Times

Chief executive George Weston said he saw capacity for a further 50 Primark stores in the UK, on top of the existing 166 shops, 40 of which were former Littlewoods sites.

'We’ll be continuing to grow over the next three to four years,' he said. Primark opened 23 stores - a 53% increase in space - in the six months to 3 March. Sales surged 36% to £721m and operating profits rose 28% to £91m.

A pilot store in Madrid will be followed by a further five Spanish stores in the next 12 months.