Rent to buy electricals and furniture retailer BrightHouse has defied the economic gloom by posting a 16.4% rise in underlying EBITDA to £39.7m in the year to March 31.

Operating profit rose to £33.6m from £24.8m at the 228-store retailer.

Revenue jumped 15.4% to £227.7m. Like-for-likes were up 9.2%.

The retailer opened 30 stores in the year and a further 30 are planned for this year.

BrightHouse chief executive Leo McKee said: “BrightHouse is going from strength to strength. With a proven customer proposition, we have grown from 141 stores in 2006/07, to 228 in 2010/11.

“Despite the travails of the High Street, we continue to see customer demand for our products and services remain relatively buoyant. The current financial year has started in line with management expectations and we are working towards delivering another positive year.

“Our longer-term prospects are also good. We are a responsible lender, serving families in some of the most socially deprived areas of Britain. We understand their needs and they value the convenience of making weekly payments and the personal relationship they develop with their store manager.”