Value department store operator The Original Factory Shop had record sales for the four weeks to December 27, helped by its position as a “non-food convenience store” according to chief executive Angela Spindler.

Profits rocketed 60%, while sales rose 48% year on year, giving a 16% like-for-like rise.

Spindler said the strategy of trading in small towns has paid off, and that this year the retailer would seek sites in locations with populations of less than 20,000. “We’re kind of a non-food convenience store. 60% of our customers live within four miles of our stores. Our stores play a unique role within a small town, providing communities with the opportunity to shop locally,” she said.

“We’ve continued to trade very strongly. The business hasn’t missed a beat during the recession and we’ve been particularly true to our position as a discounter.”

The Original Factory Shop wants to open 30 shops to add to its existing 130 this year. “Our cash position is very healthy,” said Spindler. “If you take a macro-economic view it doesn’t feel like a change of government is going to be very healthy for retailers and it may mean that 2011 is even more challenging than 2010. The Original Factory Shop, however, is pretty resilient.”

Spindler said the retailer would reveal “sales above the industry average” when it reports in March.