The owner of High Street fashion chain Primark has said sales have been higher than expected since stores reopened after lockdown, but are still lower than last year.
Associated British Foods said sales since reopening would hit £2bn by the end of the year.
However, that would be 12% lower on a like-for-like basis than in 2019.
“If the four large UK destination city centre stores are excluded, the decline is 5%.,” it added.
“After a period of store closure, we are encouraged by the strength of our sales,” AB Foods said in its latest trading update.
“In the latest four-week UK market data for sales in all channels, Primark achieved our highest-ever value and volume shares for this time of year.”
The firm said trading in its food divisions had also been better than predicted so far in the fourth quarter.