The Entertainer posted a healthy rise in sales at the half-year mark, bolstered by growth in its own-label offer and aggressive bricks-and-mortar expansion.

The specialist retailer reported a 6% increase in sales during the first half of the year, while like-for-like sales were flat.

The retailer said that its profits for the financial period were 5% ahead of plan, while gross margin also increased despite cost pressures.

The Entertainer, which is anticipating a strong performance in the second half of its financial year, opened six new stores during the period and has a further nine planned for the remainder of the year.

The toys specialist said its sales to date had benefited from playground crazes such as Finger Spinners and Fidget Cubes, as well as strong growth in its own-label offering.

The retailer said its online sales in the first half of the year were “extremely strong” and had several development plans for its ecommerce arm in the pipeline.

Founder and managing director Gary Grant said: “We’re delighted with this year’s performance so far, particularly having had to face into increased promotional pressure in the category and exchange rate fluctuations.

“We have managed to hold firm to our plans and with a number of key movie and range releases still to come, we expect a positive effect on both our sales and margin for the remainder of the year.”