Famous department store Harrods achieved a 15% uplift in profit last year as it defied the economic gloom.

The retailer recorded an 11% sales increase to £651.7m in the year to January 28, when pre-tax profit rose 15% to £125.3m.

The strong performance came in a year in which the retailer spent £107.8m refurbishing the store and opening a new distribution centre in Reading.

Harrods owner Qatar Holding, which bought the retailer from Mohamed Al Fayed for £1.5bn in 2010, last week revealed plans to open a chain of Harrods-branded hotels starting in London, Malysia and Italy.

Last week Harrods opened its Christmas World department at the earliest ever point in the year as it sought to capitalise on the influx of international shoppers as the Olympics got under way.