Booths saw sales inch up over the course of the financial year, but profitability remained out of reach for the upmarket grocer.

The Lancashire-based retailer reported a 0.5% increase in revenue to £259.3m in the 52 weeks to March 30, 2019 – the first sales increase for Booths in five years. It also said the sales trajectory of performance against the wider grocery market “continued to improve” towards the end of the year.

However, the upmarket grocer reported a third straight trading loss of £1.2m, though this improved by almost half from the previous year’s loss of £2.2m.

Booths reported a 6.4% increase in EBITDA to £6.9m and its gross margin edged up 0.2% to 9.1%.

Overall losses before taxation were £5.4m, which the retailer said was “in line with expectations”.

The grocer also flagged the work it had done over the year on removing plastic materials from products it sells. Among these steps, Booths said it had removed all of its 5p carrier bags from checkouts.

Over the course of the year, Booths completed store upgrades at sites in Media City, Salford; Carnforth; and Fulwood. Work was started at Ulverston and Kirkby Lonsdale.

Booth’s chair and chief executive Edwin Booth said: “There is positive momentum at Booths as we continue to transform the business into a vibrant multi-channel retailer. The Booths culture holds fast as teams continue to deliver the magic around the Booths way of doing business valuing people, product and place.

”Booths is a business with renewed focus and energy and the ensuing year will see the continuation of work to grow profitability in an increasingly competitive market.”