Frozen food retailer Iceland Foods Group has enjoyed a record year with pre-tax profits soaring 19.4% to £135.4m in the 52 weeks to March 26, after a major expansion drive.

Iceland opened 74 stores in the year including 51 ex-Woolworths sites. This helped lift sales 10.4% on the previous year to £2.25bn. Like-for-like sales grew 4.3% for the period.

Iceland chief executive Malcolm Walker said: “This is the fifth year of strong growth my colleagues and I have delivered since we returned to manage the business in February 2005, and yet another record result for Iceland. The group remains strongly cash generative and we ended the year virtually free of debt, despite funding increased capital expenditure of £54.5 million (2009: £30.5 million) as we stepped up our expansion programme with the opening of a record 74 new stores, our fastest rate of growth in any year since we acquired Bejam in 1989.”

The Iceland Group comprises 663 Iceland stores and 45 Cooltrader fascias.

Walker said he was “confident” that the business would make progress this year despite “more aggressive” competition in the grocery market.