Holland & Barrett will open 70 new stores across Europe, as sales and profits jumped last year as it benefits from the resilience of the “health pound”.

The health and beauty retailer revealed EBITDA jumped 8% to £130m in the year to the end of September 2014 and sales increased 7.5% to £513m.

Holland & Barrett has notched up 24 consecutive quarters of growth and 12% compound annual growth over the last six years.

Store expansion drove growth over the past year where it doubled the rate of store openings to 65 across the UK and Ireland. It has also ramped up its overseas presence and now operates in eight territories across the world, which includes 29 franchised stores in China.

Holland & Barrett is now planning more store openings in the current financial year including 40 in the UK and another 30 in Europe, where it operates its Dutch fascia De Tuinan and the Essenza brand in Belgium.

Holland & Barrett chief executive Peter Aldis said: “Although the UK high street has been challenging these past few years I believe the retail health sector benefits from the resilience of the ‘health pound’ against other demands on consumers’ wallets. 

“Long-term campaigns about the risks of sugar, salt and meat are translating into increased consumer interest in the healthy product ranges we offer, and a generation of more health and fitness aware consumers is driving increased footfall in our stores.”

Research by Holland & Barrett revealed that attitudes towards health have changed dramatically over the past thirty years as those in their twenties are three-times more likely to go to the gym than their parents’ generation and five times more people take vitamins, minerals and supplements than in the 1980s.

The store growth plans comes as it opens its 1,000th shop at the Trafford Centre in Manchester today.

Holland & Barrett is mid-way through a £40m investment programme to develop its omnichannel credentials. It includes launching click-and-collect and order in store within the next 12 months.