Young fashion chain Esprit saw UK like-for-like sales across its retail and wholesale divisions fall during the six months to December 31.

Esprit’s like-for-like retail sales at company-owned stores fell 4.6% over the period while like-for-like sales at its UK franchise business - which includes wholesale sales - fell 28.9%.

The business did not disclose what the figures dropped to, but added total UK sales rose 14.4% to HK$252m (£20.2m) during the period. Total UK sales were boosted by local currency growth and six new UK store openings, according to the company.

Esprit’s total international sales fell by 5.6% to HK$18.47bn (£1.48bn).

Esprit said it will improve profitability in 2010 by continuing its retail expansion plans and that it would continue to open new stores at a rate of 10% year-on-year.

Esprit will particularly focus on China for new openings where it plans to grow its retail exposure from 150 cities to over 450 going forward.