Spar retailer Lawrence Hunt has reported a 73% increase in pre-tax profits to £1.3m on turnover down 2% to £37.8m in the year to 17 May 2014.

MD Kevin Hunt said like-for-like sales in the current financial year were running at 5%-6%.

He added that the Preston-based chain was half way through the conversion of its 28 stores to Spar’s ‘next-generation’ format, with completion expected in the next 18 months to two years.

Lawrence Hunt pioneered the new Spar format at its Penwortham store, featuring extended ranges, new design, wi-fi and mobile phone charging units three years ago. It has since upgraded 12 other stores in the 28-strong chain at a total cost approaching £1m.