National Lottery ticket sales are up 5.4% on the first half of 2017/18, Camelot’s half year results for 2018/19 show.

The growth was largely attributable to the “wide-ranging strategic review” that it conducted in 2017, Camelot said.

Retail sales over the half-year grew by £98.5m to just over £2,6bn, boosted by a £20m investment in initiatives to improve retailer engagement and support – including a “significant increase” in the number of face-to-face visits made to outlets, Camelot said.

Camelot’s Retail Sales Team visited 44,000 stores twice from April to September, with ‘Site, Stock, Sell’ scores having increased from an average of 6.8 out of 10, at the start of the programme, to 7.5 over the last 3 months, it said.

Camelot’s retail partners also earned £147.2m in commission over the period, £7.4m more than in the first half of 2017/18, it added.

Sales grew across the board during the half-year, with draw-based games up by £39.9m, boosted by the introduction of a Tuesday draw for Thunderball and the launch of a new EuroMillions HotPicks game.

Sales across The National Lottery’s range of Scratchcards and online Instant Win Games also increased, following improvements in product design, range, merchandising and availability.

Over the same period, sales across The National Lottery’s digital channels grew to a record £831.4m, “driven by a better game range and mix, improved merchandising and the launch late last year of a full version of the Android app,” Camelot said.

Mobile sales also hit an all-time high, with sales through smartphones and tablets now accounting for over 50% of all digital sales.

Camelot’s performance over the half-year also saw it generate £793.2m for Good Causes, £46.5m more than in the first half of 2017/18.

Camelot CEO Nigel Railton said: “Thanks to the work we’ve been carrying out following our comprehensive review of the business, we’ve made a very positive start to the financial year across the board.

“We’ll continue to make improvements across our retail and digital channels, and build on the good headway we’ve made to date in making The National Lottery brand more relevant and visible.

“On top of that, we’ve got some great plans for the second half of the year to ensure that we’re offering a more balanced and appealing range of games that offers something for everyone – starting with exciting changes to Lotto next week to give our players a better winning experience.”

“While there is much work still to do – and while we’ll continue to face challenges that are beyond our control, such as economic uncertainty and unrelenting competition from both the gambling sector and industrial-scale society lotteries that operate on a national basis – I’m very encouraged by the further progress we’ve made over the first half of this year.”