Iceland is not the only frozen discounter to make gains from the consumer downturn. Farmfoods has smashed through the £500m sales barrier for the first time.

Sales at the freezer chain were up 20% to £578.8m in the year ending December 2010. Its pre-tax profits jumped 30% to £17m.

The Scottish chain, which now operates 317 stores in Great Britain, spent £4.9m on freehold property during the year and opened nine stores. The momentum has continued in the new year. The latest Kantar figures out this week showed sales up 11.2%. And although the chain’s traditional heartland is in Scotland and northern England, the Kantar figures show sales grew almost three times faster in the south.

“It’s taking shoppers from across the board, apart from Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, and has benefited from the zeitgeist of people looking to save money on groceries,” said communications director Ed Garner. “The repertoire of the Farmfoods shopper is particularly likely to ­contain Netto, Aldi, Lidl, Iceland and Somerfield.”