Matalan, the discount retailer taken private in an £800m-plus deal last year, is to roll out a new store format following a successful trial. Daily Telegraph

The plans were announced as the group – now owned by founder John Hargreaves and his family – filed annual accounts at Companies House.

The accounts, which include the retailer’s first two months as a private company, show that pre-tax profit increased 8.5% to £28.1m in the year to February 24. However, turnover fell 2.6% to £1.03bn over the same period.

Alistair McGeorge, chief executive, claimed that the group’s debt repayments were ahead of schedule.

The retailer’s 24 new format stores were delivering strong like-for-like sales growth, he added.

'We have invested significantly in our stores and we plan to accelerate our store investment programme in the new year,' he said. 'Costs and cash flow are under far better control.'