"Customer paranoia" has been blamed for a drop in sales volumes at upmarket retailer Booths.

The company's value sales grew 4% to £254m and pre-tax profits were up 9% to £7.5m in the year ending April 2009. However, like-for-like sales had grown by just 0.6% in the same period, boosted by inflation over the year, and chairman Edwin Booth said volumes were down over the course of the year, although he declined to say by how much.

Given the state of the economy, sales had been robust, he said. "I think the performance is very strong we have held up very well. We have had to react quite fast to what was almost customer paranoia."

Turnover was down last September and October on the same periods the previous year as consumers sought cheaper products and visited rival stores, he said, but the introduction of 200 discount lines in January had helped return sales to growth, said Booth.