Ideal Shopping Direct has had a positive start to its financial year with group sales, excluding recent acquisitions, up 10.5% in the 21 weeks to May 30.

The TV shopping group said it expected to make a “substantial” profit in its first half, compared to a loss of £900,000 in the first half of 2009.

Sales at the gardening business Lead The Good Life, which Ideal bought in January, were up 17.9% for the period.  

Ideal chief executive Mike Hancox said: “We are pleased that we continue to grow our business despite a challenging retail environment. Given the operational gearing of the company, we expect profit in the first half year to be substantially better than in 2009.

“Whilst we remain cautious over consumer spending patterns in the second half, we are confident that company strategy will continue to deliver a robust performance through the second half year.”