Associated British Foods has today maintained its full-year earnings forecast, as progress at its budget retailer Primark and in its grocery, ingredients and agriculture businesses helps to offset declines in its sugar unit and a currency hit. 

The firm said it still expected a "modest" decline in group adjusted earnings per share (EPS) in the financial year which ends this week.

This is up from the 104.1 pence made in the previous year. 

AB Foods stuck with its forecast despite saying that the strengthening pound would hit its results by more than previously expected. 

The negative impact on the translation of overseas results would now be some £30m, the company said, up from previous guidance of £25m. 

Analysts are forecasting EPS of 98.3 pence for the company's financial year which ends September 12, according to Reuters data. 

Sales at clothing retailer Primark, which contributes over half of AB Foods' annual profit, are expected to be about 13% ahead of last year on a constant currency basis, driven by the opening of new stores in the Netherlands and Germany. 

Primark trades as Penneys in Ireland. 

At actual exchange rates, sales will be 8% ahead, reflecting the weakening of the euro against the pound. 

The low-cost fashion retailer is targeting expansion in the US, Spain, France and Italy to fuel future growth and will open its first US store in Boston later this week.