But Country Casuals continues to be a fly in the fashion retailer's ointment
Austin Reed Group has suffered an annual loss, but turnaround strategies are beginning to take effect. The group reported a pre-tax loss of£1.9 million for the full year to January 29. However, it also stated a return to profitability in the second half of the year, with£800,000 profit before tax.

Comparative store sales at its Austin Reed menswear fascia increased by 7 per cent over the year. However, Country Casuals proved to be the millstone around the group's neck, as its like-for-like sales for the year dipped by 8 per cent.

Austin Reed group chief executive Nick Hollingworth said: 'The year to January has been one of significant change. A comprehensive review of the business has led to wide-ranging changes to management and working practices. The Austin Reed brand has shown good sales and margin growth as we have improved our merchandise, stores and marketing. Our strategy to drive full-price sales in Country Casuals significantly increased margins in the second half. However, the full effect of repositioning this brand will not be seen until the second half of the current financial year.'