Express Gifts owner Findel has slipped further into the red, despite hailing an increase in sales.

The online value retail and education business said its pre-tax losses widened to £59.4m in the 53 weeks to March 31, compared with £1.7m the previous year.

Findel said the loss was driven by “individually significant items” of £82.2m, up from £26.5m last year.

The business said they were mainly non-cash items, including a £21.2m impairment of intangible assets, £7.5m relating to onerous lease provisions and £14.7m worth of financial services redress and refunds at Express Gifts.

Stripping out the impact of those items, Findel said adjusted operating profit dropped 10.4% to £31.1m.

Group revenues increased 11.3% to £457m, with its Express Gifts business delivering a “strong” sales performance.

Findel said this was driven by a 229,000-strong increase in its customer base to 1.6 million.

Product revenues were up 15.6% on a like-for-like basis to £260m, with the household and clothing categories spearheading the spike.

However, Express Gift’s adjusted operating profits fell by £1.3m to £30.4m as investment in recruiting hindered earnings.

Findel’s new chief executive Phil Maudsley said: “These results reflect a year of good progress in the group’s largest business, Express Gifts, and we are focused on supporting our leading value proposition with a digital transformation in both businesses.

“At Express Gifts, the ongoing investment in our product offer and our move to year-round customer recruitment is already resonating well and delivering strong results.”