Iceland Foods has broken the £2bn sales barrier for the first time as cash-strapped consumers flock to the frozen food specialist in the recession.

This week it reported sales up 16% to £2.1bn and pre-tax profits up 84% to £113.7m for the year ending March 2009.

"More and more customers are rediscovering the benefits of frozen food - no mess, no fuss, no waste," said chief executive and founder Malcolm Walker. "This is helping Iceland to maintain strong progress even in the current difficult economic climate, with like-for-like sales showing double-digit growth for the fifth consecutive year."

The sales growth was almost exclusively like-for-like - Iceland's estate only increased by one store over the year.

However, the retailer planed to open 70 new stores this year, including 51 former-Woolworths stores - a rate of growth that would outpace Aldi's - and a further 20 to 30 were planned for 2010.

Walker admitted that Iceland Foods, which now has more than 663 Iceland stores and 45 Cooltrader stores, could only open one or two hundred more stores in the UK before it reached saturation point.

Since Walker and his senior management team returned to the business in 2005, they had re-established themselves as "the UK's acknowledged expert in frozen food", he said.

"We have worked hard to ensure our range of frozen food is unsurpassed in value, quality growth and innovation, and offer our customers excellent everyday value," he added. "We have continued to increase our market share and our shoppers are spending more of their weekly budget at Iceland than ever before."

Iceland's Bonuscard loyalty card, launched during the year, already has more than 2.5 million members.

The latest TNS Worldpanel data shows Iceland's sales grew 7.2% in the 12 weeks to 17 May, giving it a 1.7% share of the market. Although its growth has slowed, it continues to outpace the grocery market, which grew 5.8% in the same period.