The Entertainer revealed a jump in pre-tax profits to £5.5m from £1.3m the previous year as it looks to fill the gap created by the closure of Early Learning Centre stores.

In its unaudited results for the year to February 2, the toy retailer generated sales up 36% to £112.5m, driven by online growth and a raft of store openings.

Like-for-like sales, which include online, surged 8.9%. This was driven by its ecommerce channel which surged 27.4%, while store like-for-likes also performed well, up 5.4%.

The toys specialist is aiming to grow its market share to 5% from 4.6% and will target pre-school toys, where it has just a 2.6% market share. Buying director Stuart Grant said it wants to fill the gap left by the Early Learning Centre which used to dominate this market but has halved its store estate since it was bought by Mothercare.

He added: “It is one of our smallest categories but it is one of the biggest opportunities. The Early Learning Centre has left low hanging fruit for us to pick up.”

The results were unveiled at its stakeholder meeting on Wednesday, where it revealed its mission to “be the best-loved toyshop – one child, one community at a time”. It aims to do this by making stores even more experiential with product displays, events and toy demonstrations, improving customer service, offering competitive prices and “the best range of toys on the high street”.

The retailer has stepped up its store expansion over the past 12 months, investing £5.6m into 14 new shops, the most it has opened in one year, bringing its store estate to 78.

The Entertainer director of multichannel Duncan Grant said it was the retailer’s “biggest year ever”. “We have more than doubled the business in the last five years”. The toys specialist expect sales to reach £125m in its current year.