Several new sales records were set in Primark stores following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the owner of the high street retailer said.

Associated British Foods (ABF) revealed that sales for the retailer hit £1.6 billion for the 16 weeks to June 19, “reflecting an increase in both confidence and willingness to spend by our customers”.

The discount fashion business saw like-for-like sales rise by 3% against pre-pandemic levels from the same quarter two years ago.

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Primark started the quarter with only one in five stores trading due to pandemic restrictions, with all of its stores now reopened.

Coronavirus – Mon Apr 12, 2021
Shoppers stand in line outside Primark, Birmingham, as lockdown restrictions eased in England in April (Jacob King/PA)

The group said it was particularly buoyed by “pent-up demand in the early weeks after reopening” and is expecting trading to steady now restrictions have been significantly eased.

In the stock market update, the company said: “The relevance and appeal of our value-for-money offering has been evidenced by the number of customers that have returned to shop in person in our stores, across every one of our markets, each time we have reopened post-lockdown.

“This reopening has also seen a resurgence in demand for fashion across womenswear and menswear, as customers start to step out of lockdown leisurewear.”

ABF bosses said that the firm now expects Primark’s profit for the full year, before the repayment of furlough funds, to be “broadly in line” with last year’s figures.

Shares in ABF were 5% higher at 2,327p after early trading.