Original Factory Shop revealed that a sale of the value store group is likely before the end of the year, as it unveiled record half-year results.

Original Factory Shop chief executive George Foster said: “We are still in the process of finding new venture capitalists, but these things are complicated. We are looking at a sale by the new year, sooner if possible.” Last month, the chain was put up for sale by its owners, Barclays Private Equity, for an estimated£80 million, although Foster declined to comment on the sale price.

Original Factory Shop’s profits soared 15.9 per cent in the six months to September 30, with sales up 15.6 per cent and like-for-likes up 4.8 per cent.

Foster said: “Our format is working well. We have a wide range and are regularly visited by locals; about 80 per cent of people who visit us buy something.”

Original Factory Shop finance director Gareth Hutchinson said the strong performance is also a result of the responsiveness of its product range. “We have fantastic relationships with our suppliers and can react rapidly to our customers’ needs by making quick buying decisions. This summer, for example, we bought in wellies, raincoats and umbrellas in the middle of July, in response to the unseasonable weather,” he said.

The retailer plans to open five stores before Christmas as part of its ambitious£10 million expansion plan, taking its store count to 84 shops.