TV shopping retailer The Jewellery Channel is to become profitable this year after nearly doubling its sales last year.

It is understood that the falling-auction site has notched up sales of almost£25 million in the year to March 31, up from£13.9 million the previous year. Losses before tax are believed to have widened to£4 million, from £2.3 million the previous year.

European managing director John Simpson declined to comment on the figures, but said the losses can be attributed to the high fixed costs associated with launching a TV retail business.

“It’s like opening a chain of 100 shops on day one,” he said. The retailer, which launched in the UK in April 2006, is still in its “gestation period,” but added: “We will be profitable this year.”

It broadcasts for 19 hours a day on Sky and for three hours in the morning on Freeview.

“Airtime suppliers are the landlords of our business,” said Simpson. “Freeview is eye-wateringly expensive.”

The retailer was launched in the UK by Indian jewellery manufacturer Vaibhav Gems. It launched German and US channels soon after.

The retailer is poised to launch a fixed-price jewellery web site to sit alongside its falling auction web site and live streaming site from the TV channel.

Simpson said there are opportunities to launch channels in other European countries and the Far East in future.

The Jewellery Channel reaches about 8.5 million households through its presence on Sky and its customer base consists of predominantly housewives and homeowners aged between 30 and 50.

The retailer carries out between 10 and 12 auctions an hour on products priced between£29 and£5,000 using six presenters every four to five hours.

During the year, the retailer cut back costs by relocating from Teddington Television Studios and consolidating its departments under one roof at its headquarters in Teddington on the outskirts of London.