Sales at Abel & Cole have risen after the organic veg box retailer enticed new customers and increased loyalty among existing shoppers.

Equivalent sales rose 24% in the eight months to April 27, 2013 under the new ownership of the William Jackson Food Group, which also owns the Aunt Bessie’s brand.

Abel & Cole managing director Ted Bell told Retail Week that “profits will be up” in its next financial year.

Operating profits before exceptional items reached £1.4m in the eight-month period, compared with £3.7m in the 52 weeks to December 2012. Sales for the shorter period were £38m and in 2012 full-year sales hit £46.5m.

“Our overall level of profitability has remained unchanged,” Bell said.

Abel & Cole was acquired by William Jackson in October 2012 and the owner has taken a hands-off approach to the day-to-day running of the business. Bell said: “They have been supportive and allowed us to invest more in the business, marketing, product and infrastructure and we now have a more robust balance sheet.”

The retailer declined to give more recent revenue figures but said sales of Christmas lines, introduced in late November, were up 30% amid a strong festive season.

“Our customer numbers grew steadily last year and we have been recommended by more of our existing customers which has drawn new custom. Our average order size has increased slightly too,” Bell said.

Bell said Abel & Cole had outperformed a flat wider organic food market.

He added that co-founder Keith Abel remains actively involved with the business at a non-executive level.