Maplin has unveiled bumper sales and profits and forecast continued growth, despite the economic downturn and seismic change in the electricals sector.

Figures filed at Companies House show pre-tax profits at the electricals retailer rose to£23.9 million in the year to December 29, from£21.8 million the previous year. Total sales climbed 20.3 per cent to£179.8 million.

Managing director Graham Caldwell told Retail Week he expected sales and profits to rise by a similar amount this year.

He said: “We will do well again this year, despite all the difficulties out there, because we are niche. We sell lower-ticket, higher-margin product. It shows how strong this business model is.”

Since the end of the financial year like-for-likes have fallen, but average transactions are up, he added.

Caldwell said he was unfazed by the shake-up in the electricals sector, which has seen a shift to online sales, and is waiting to see the impact of Best Buy when it lands on UK shores next year.

Rival DSGi, which has issued two profits warnings this year, unveiled a five-point turnaround strategy in May, that included a shift by the Currys chain to sell Maplin’s core product categories.

Retail sales at Maplin, which is owned by Montagu Private Equity, rose 21.5 per cent in the year and like-for-likes were up 8 per cent. Internet sales increased 14.9 per cent, but mail order sales fell 9.8 per cent.

Caldwell said that the internet continues to be the fastest growing part of the business and will account for 10 per cent of turnover this year. Maplin has an aggressive store roll-out programme, including the opening of 21 stores this year.

Maplin was acquired by Montagu as part of a secondary buy-out from its shareholder Graphite Capital and management in September 2004 for£244 million.

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