The retail empire behind Topshop and Miss Selfridge saw annual profits jump 25% despite falling sales amid “very challenging” high street trading.
Philip Green’s Arcadia group said like-for-like UK retail sales dropped 3.2% in the year to August 25.
But the group – which also owns BHS, Burton and Dorothy Perkins – said moves to sell less discounted stock helped improve margins and grow underlying full-year profit to £166.9m (€207.5m) from £133.1m (€165.5m) the previous year.
It added that like-for-like sales have improved since the summer, up 0.7% in the first 10 weeks, including VAT.
Green said that with trading conditions remaining challenging “exciting and engaging” customers across multi-channels was top of the agenda.
Earlier this month, his Dorothy Perkins brand enlisted the support of US reality show stars to launch its “Kardashian Kollection”.
Arcadia’s UK e-commerce sales grew 20% over the year, while its international online business saw sales rise by 33%.
Today’s results come a year after the group warned over stores closures and posted a 40% slide in underlying pre-tax profits as it chose not the pass on increasing costs to cash-strapped customers.
But profits have been boosted by better stock management, while its international retail business also performed strongly during the year.
Green said a new Topshop store in Melbourne had achieved “record results” and was on course for £15m (€18.6m) sales in its first year.
Shops in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Vancouver in Canada has also recorded strong opening performances.
Topshop now has 615 franchised shops across 39 countries.