Aurum, the owner of Mappin & Webb , Watches of Switzerland and Goldsmiths has reported full year operating profits grew to £6.5m in the year to January 31, up from £3.1m the year before.

EBITDA for the jewellery group rose 27% to £10.5m and while like-for-like sales dipped 1.2% for the year.

Aurum said that profits had benefitted from lower levels of promotional activity and a reduction in overheads.

The first quarter of the year has started well for the group with sales across all three fascias up double digit on a like-for-like basis. Group like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to April 25 were up 12%.

In November Aurum agreed a refinancing plan and a £10m mezzanine loan to reduce short term borrowings. At the time it set out a five year strategy for growth.

Aurum chief executive Justin Stead said: “Our strong end of year results and positive start in Q1 2010 reflects the bedding in of our five year strategy and growth plan. Seeing such success from the plan at such an early stage is evidence that Aurum is on the right track despite the tough retail climate. Such results are testament to the strength and quality of our brands, and a reflection on the hard work and dedication of the team. I remain cautiously optimistic considering economic forecasts in 2010 but our current results provide the company with a robust foundation to build future success.”