Arts and crafts retailer HobbyCraft said it was heading for its “best ever year” as the trend for low-cost family activities continues to grow.

In the 35 weeks to October 25 like-for-like sales were ahead 9% and it expects sales to continue to be strong in the lead up to Christmas. Total sales were up 22%.

Chief executive Chris Crombie said that people taking up low cost activities at home was helping to push up sales. “We are continuing to trade ahead and it looks like it will be our best ever year,” said Crombie.

He added: “Like many we cast a cautionary eye to the fourth quarter but so far we are seeing no softening.”

He said that best sellers included its make your own wedding stationery range, up 56% like-for-like, and cup cake making products are up 86%.  

He said the launch of its in-store magazine has helped sales as it provides money-off coupons, giving shoppers another reason to go back to the store.

HobbyCraft offers 35,000 product lines in stores and the retailer said its internet offer, which launched a year ago, will slowly build up to the same amount of lines.

For its full year to February 22 turnover grew 10% to £68.7m with pre-tax profits ahead 67% to £5.4m. It ended the year with £2.4m of net cash.

It now employs over 1,600 staff across 38 stores. It plans in the medium term to grow to a 180-store chain with sites being actively sought across the UK.

Crombie said: “The HobbyCraft model is resilient as the figures show. I want to roll this out prudently across the UK.”

This month former Radley chief executive Roger Best was appointed as a non-executive director. Crombie said that Best’s “proven record in businesses with strong brands” meant he could really help the retailer move its brand forward.