Wilko has posted a return to profit in its full-year results, driven by a cost-cutting drive.

The value retailer recorded pre-tax profit of £34.8m in the 52 weeks to February 2, 2019, up from a loss of £65m the previous year, Retail Week can reveal.

The retailer reported a 2.3% fall in turnover year on year to £1.6bn.

Wilko slashed its debt pile and ended the financial year with positive free cash flow of £26.9m, a rise of £52.1m on the previous year.

Wilko did not offer specifics on the costs cut to deliver its return to profitability, but a spokeswoman for the retailer said: “Cost and cash discipline has played a significant role in our improved financial position. This has been accomplished through embedding more robust financial controls and challenge across all areas of the business.”

It opened eight new stores during the period and closed seven, taking its overall store estate to 416.

Wilko’s own-brand product comprised 54.7% of its overall sales in the year, up from 52.7% the previous year.

Chief financial officer Alex Russo said: “We have focused this past year on controlling margin, costs and cash, helping us return to profitability. While the retail environment remains challenging, we are pleased to see the popularity of our own-brand products continues to rise. The coming year will see us focus on continuing to improve the customer proposition and drive further operational efficiencies.”

The retailer has had a strong start to its current financial year, with profit ahead of expectations for the 12 weeks to April 27, driven by its gardening, decorating, paint and DIY product categories.