Retirement home specialist McCarthy & Stone lifted pre-tax profit 33% to £12.1m in the six months to 31 March 1999.

The company said the improved performance had been achieved through increased sales, particularly two “bulk” deals accounting for 31 units. Its average selling price rose 6% to £79 500.

McCarthy & Stone, Housebuilder of the year at this year’s Building Awards, is now planning to move into the North-east and the West.

The group, which last month announced the appointment of former planning minister Sir George Young as a non-executive director, attacked delays in the hearing of planning inquiries.