Express Gifts owner Findel revealed sales jumped 5% in its full year as it expects profits to be “substantially” ahead year on year.

In a trading update after entering the close period for the year to March 28, Findel said sales in the second half of the year increased 4.7%.

It anticipates operating profit and pre-tax profit “substantially ahead” of the previous year hitting analyst expectations of between £22m and £22.5m.

Group operating margin is expected to improve from 4.6% to 6%.

Findel said it has cut its net debt by £18m to £207m in the year.

Findel said sales at Express Gift surged 9.7% while it achieved “strong” profit improvement. Across the calendar year to December 2013, its customer base rose 8.3%.

Findel’s education supplies division recorded sales up 6.2% year on year and a “significant” profit increase. The business won further local authority contracts in the year but it said the unpredictable school buying patterns had affected the final weeks of the period.

Findel said its homewares business Kleeneze has been challenging recording a 5.4% fall in sales. As a result full-year profit will dip below the previous year.

The group’s sports etailer Kitbag will report an increased loss for the full year due to its lacklustre first-half performance. Sales fell 4.5% in the year. Findel said the turnaround has been slower than anticipated but since January sales have been in line with the previous year. It expects the World Cup and Ryder Cup to boost sales and profits this year.