Supplier of own-label household goods to supermarkets, McBride said first half turnover rose 4% buoyed by higher sales to Continental Europe as UK sales were hit by price pressure from imports.

For the six months to December 31 pre-tax profit increased 44% to £11.8m from £8.2m on sales of £249.3m.

In the UK, sales rose 1% to £120.3m while tight cost control pushed profit up 17.2% to £7.5m. In Continental Europe sales grew 7.1% to £129m.

The group said it had reduced net debt by £18.3m to £76.6m through improved working capital management and reduced capital expenditure.

CEO Mike Handley said: “These results underline the current favourable market conditions for private label and our ability to serve our customers’ needs.”

McBride said it is committed to its European strategy and has financial objectives including growing sales and profits, improving return on capital and reducing debt.