Bookseller Foyles has unveiled its second consecutive year of profitable trading, with a ten-fold increase in pre-tax profits.

Foyles generated pre-tax profits of £131,447 in the year ending June 30, 2016. That compared with £11,108 the previous year.

Sales advanced 2.7% to £25m during the period.

Digital drive

Foyles said the profit increase was driven by “a number of positive changes within the business”, including the installation of an in-store digital ordering system dubbed ‘Foyles Lite’.

It made improvements to its previously loss-making ecommerce department and bolstered customer service following the appointment of its first head of customer experience Janette Cross.

As well as overhauling its website, Foyle’s expanded its existing free postage offer to allow all customers to take advantage of it without a minimum order value.

As Foyles attempts to become a fully omnichannel business, it has focused on enhancing physical stores using digital technology, such as iPads to facilitate orders and digital signage.

It also launched an annual children’s summer festival and said events remain a “key focus”.

Key bestsellers for Foyles in the period included Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee and SPQR by Mary Beard.

“The adult colouring phenomenon was also a significant sales driver,” the retailer said.

Regional expansion

During the period, Foyles continued its regional expansion.

It opened its first shop in the Midlands with a new store in Birmingham’s Grand Central development and relocated its Bristol store, moving to a new “higher-footfall location” in Cabot Circus.

Foyles chief executive Paul Currie said: “It’s very encouraging to see such a positive increase in our profitability and sales, a testament to the work being done across the business to enhance our customer service, modernise the business, manage our costs and engage with readers.

“Foyles is 114 years old, but everything we do is in that enterprising and innovative spirit of our founders.

“While the announcement that we’ve made a profit for the second year in a row is undoubtedly good news, we are aware we still have a lot of work to do to ensure sustainable growth for the business in the long term.

“In such a low margin business as books, the support of our publishing partners will be essential in this process.”

Foyles, which currently has seven stores, delivered a 4.7% uplift in like-for-like sales over the Christmas period.