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THE Bournemouth company that dominates the retirement housing market proclaimed a “strong recovery” in profit margins as it revealed a four per cent rise in revenue.

Earlier this year, McCarthy & Stone blamed a range of factors including the uncertainty caused by the EU referendum for a 40 per cent drop in underlying profits.

But in a full-year trading update covering the period to August 31, it said: “The group delivered a consistent improvement in trading throughout the year despite the increased uncertainty in the secondary market following the EU referendum result in June 2016 and the general election in June 2017.”

It said completed sales stood at 2,302, in line with the previous year’s figure of 2,296, while forward sales had “steadily improved throughout the year despite the significantly lower number of new sales releases and first occupations”.

Gross average selling price rose three per cent to £273,000 and revenue four per cent to £660million.

There had been a “strong recovery in underlying profit margin”, but full year margins were expected to be lower than last year because of the age of stock and the incentives the company had offered to buyers.

In the last financial year, McCarthy & Stone entered into a partnership with the property management and development business Places for People, giving it access to a growing rental market and enabling investment in new locations.

McCarthy & Stone began building on 73 sites during the year, compared with 54 in 2016, and it plans 80 new sales releases in the next financial year compared with 52 in 2017.

It added: “The demand for high-quality retirement housing remains strong and the group remains confident of delivering its medium-term growth objective of building and selling more than 3,000 units per annum.”

McCarthy & Stone shares stood at 237.9p before the result of the EU referendum but fell substantially afterwards. They rose by almost three per cent to just under 165p yesterday morning.

The business is marking its 40th anniversary this year. It has 70 per cent of the owner-occupied retirement housing market, with 170 staff at its Bournemouth HQ, 60 at its southern regional office in Ringwood and more than 1,000 nationwide.