Netto UK has reported a 53% lift in operating profit to £7.6m with tight cost controls helping it overcome tough trading conditions.

For the year to December 31, 2009, the discount grocer reported a 0.2% uplift in sales to £745m.

Pre-tax profit increased from £4.9m to £6.9m.

Netto UK managing director Charles Kay said the first four months of trading for 2010 have been “extremely buoyant”. He said Netto UK is “attracting more customers” who are “increasing their spend in our stores”.

He added: “Continued control of costs, good relationships with our suppliers and more exciting marketing activities have given greatly improved results.”

The 196-store grocer will “open several new stores over the coming months” and continue its refurbishment programme.

It will also continue its Open Buying Days initiative, which enables suppliers to meet with Netto UK buyers, who then make decisions on orders the same day. Kay said the initiative means it is able to secure even better prices for shoppers.

Netto UK’s parent, Dansk Supermarked Group, has also committed to a “substantial” investment in a new IT system, which Kay said will “support us to deliver long-term growth”.