Profits tumble, but trading margins maintained
Operating profits at Arcadia fell 8.1 per cent, from£327.2 million to£300.6 million, for the 53 weeks to September 2.

Total sales were up 1.8 per cent, at£1.8 billion from£1.77 billion, but like-for-like sales were down 1.9 per cent.

The result was hailed by Sir Philip Green as a 'strong performance when set against a competitive retail market'. He added that like-for-like sales since the year-end have been down 1 per cent, but said 'disciplined stock control has enabled us to maintain trading margins'.

Richard Ratner, analyst at Seymour Pierce, said: 'If Green's got problems, I'd like to share them. Miss Selfridge wasn't very good - it lost him£3 million - but [Arcadia] really is generating cash.'

He argued that the performance was positive compared with that of other retailers. 'The other thing to focus on is the like-for-like figure, which is down 1 per cent - you know how some of the other [retailers] are doing out there,' he added.

Over the year, Arcadia opened 46 outlets, representing 288,000 sq ft (26,755 sq m) of new space, and relocated 20 units. Capital investment - including new stores, refurbishment and e-commerce - almost doubled, rising from£65 million last year to£123 million.