First-half profit hits £500,000
Austin Reed returned to profit in the first half of the financial year and is optimistic about performance in the second half.

In the 28 weeks to August 12, the group made a pre-tax profit of£500,000 on turnover of£55.9 million, compared with a loss of£1.1 million on turnover of£52.4 million in the same period last year. Like-for-like sales were up 7.6 per cent.

Austin Reed group chief executive Nick Hollingworth said: 'These results show the good progress we have made in the recovery of the group. By improving our product, stores and service we have broadened our appeal to customers and increased our sales and margins.'

He added: 'We have also had an encouraging start to the second half and remain confident in our recovery.'

The group experienced good growth in casual and formal lines, but achieved a particularly strong performance in made-to-measure suits and womanwear.

County Casuals, now rebranded as CC, was performing ahead of financial targets according to the retailer.

In the first five weeks of the second half, group sales were up 14.3 per cent, with like-for-like sales up 11.6 per cent compared with last year. The positive performance has been led by the Regent Street store, where sales were up 16.7 per cent.