Electricals retailer Maplin has revealed a market-defying increase in sales and profits despite operating in one of the most turbulent markets in retail.

Pre-tax profits rose to £32m in the year to December 27, 2008, from £23.9m the year before, figures filed at Companies House showed. Total sales climbed 13.3 per cent to £203.6m, up from £179.8m, and group like-for-likes rose 2.7 per cent.

The retailer said that a combination of strong cost control, “delivering better customer solutions” and store and online expansion resulted in a 33.5 per cent increase in operating profits to £31.5m. 

The retailer said that since the year-end its “strong trading performance has continued into 2009, with the outlook very positive despite uncertainty over general economic conditions”.

The figures build on a strong set of 2007 results, when Maplin attributed its performance to its niche position as a retailer of lower-ticket, higher-margin product, distancing its positioning from its rivals.

DSGi-owned Currys and PC World and Kesa-owned Comet all suffered fall-offs in sales last year.

Retail sales at Maplin, which is owned by Montagu Private Equity, rose 14.6 per cent during 2008, a like-for-like rise of 2.3 per cent. Sales at its online operations increased 8 per cent.

Sales at the mail order arm – which sells to consumers and businesses – grew 9.2 per cent. Maplin said that despite a year-on-year drop in the number of mail order transactions due to economic conditions, average transaction value in the mail order business grew and refunds were “more accurately re-charged”.

Maplin opened 17 stores in 2008 and plans to open 12 in the current financial year. The retailer has a medium-term goal of 250 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

No comment was available from Maplin as Retail Week went to press.