Wilkinson has blamed a 6.3% drop in profits and a 1.3% dip in full-year like-for-like sales on the squeeze on consumers’ disposable income.

Pre-tax profits at the ­variety discounter, which tops The Grocer’s Top 50 ­independents, fell from £64.9m to £60.8m in the year to 28 January on total sales up 0.2% to £1.56bn.

“Customers facing a ­decline in their disposable income shopped less frequently and more carefully, seeking out value, trading down where possible and concentrating on essential rather than discretionary spending,” said CEO Stuart Mitchell.

The retailer opened 14 new stores during the period nine in England and five in Scotland taking the chain over six million sq ft of selling space for the first time. It also hit its target of rolling out its new-look branding to 80 stores and plans to rebrand 90 stores a year over the next two years. Sales in rebranded stores had risen 4% following refits, it said.

“Our comparative growth this year was less than we’d planned, but we continued to deliver great deals and good, honest value-for-money products in all our stores at the same time as continuing the rollout of rebranded stores,” said directors Karin Swann and Lisa Wilkinson.